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History of geographical discovery In the 


3 1924 032 379 764 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


General Editor:— F. H. H. GUILLEMARD, M.D. 
formerly lecturer in geography in the university of cambridge 





C. F. CLAY, Manager 

•EBinijutsi): io°. PRINCES STREET 

aBcclin: A. ASHER AND CO. 

a-eipjig: F. A. BROCKHAUS 

i^efa aorit: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS 

JSomtaj an* Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO., Ltd. 

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Cambridge : 
at the University Press 






THE period dealt with in this book lies for the most 
part outside what has been well termed the Age 
of Great Discoveries, and has in consequence met with 
less attention, perhaps, than it deserves. While the main 
episodes have formed the theme of many and competent 
writers, few attempts have been made to present such a 
connected view of the whole course of Geographical Dis- 
covery within the limits here adopted as might bring out 
the precise position occupied by each separate achieve- 
ment in relation to the general advance of knowledge. 
It is this task which has been attempted in the present 
volume. The reasons which give a certain unity to the 
period are discussed in the following' pages, but it may be 
briefly characterised here as that in which, after the decline 
of Spain and Portugal, the main outlines of the World-map 
were completed by their -successors among the nations of 

In dealing with so wide a field, both as regards time 
and space, the arrangement of the subject-matter presents 
considerable difficulties. To take the major portions of 
the world in turn, and trace the course of discovery for 
each from beginning to end, would, it was thought, lose 
much by failing to bring out what may be called the 
general perspective of the story. Successive periods were 
marked by more or less definite characteristics all the 
world over, and both the aims and methods of discoverers 



changed with the times. On the other hand a strict 
chronological arrangement of the whole material would 
have its own disadvantages, and a compromise between 
the two methods seemed to offer the only suitable solution. 
For each part of the world the whole epoch has therefore 
been broken up into periods, possessing a general unity in 
themselves, and sufificiently prolonged to escape the draw- 
back of frequent interruptions of the story. 

Whilst original sources of information have been con- 
sulted as far as possible, it is obvious, in view of the extent 
of the field, that this could not be done universally, in a 
text-book that does not, primarily at least, profess to 
present the results of original research. The contributions 
of so many previous workers in the field have been drawn 
upon that it is impossible to acknowledge the indebtedness 
in each separate case ; more especially as the narrative is 
based on notes collected during a long series of years. 
A few of the more particular obligations must however 
find expression. Of earlier dates, works like Burney's 
classical collection of South Sea voyages, Southey's History 
of Brazil, Miiller's and Coxe's accounts of Russian North- 
East voyages, and Barrow's History of Voyages into the A rctic 
Regions, have of course been consulted ; while, of more 
recent times, Markham's Threshold of the Unknown Region, 
Ravenstein's Russians on the Amur, Parkman's and 
Winsor's historical works on North America, and Theal's 
on South Africa, Bryce's History of the Hudson Bay 
Company, Burpee's Search for the Western Sea, Conway's 
No Man's Land, Nordenskiold's Voyage of the Vega, and 
many others, have furnished useful indications. The 
publications of the Hakluyt Society, with the valuable 
introductions supplied by the several editors, have also 
been an important source of information. 

As regards the illustrations, special thanks are due to 
Mr Kitson, and his publisher Mr Murray, for permission 
to utilise the chart of Captain Cook's routes, and the 


portrait of the navigator, given in the former's Captain 
James Cook (which appeared, unfortunately, after the 
chapter dealing with Cook's voyages was written) ; to 
Sir Martin Conway for similar permission to use the re- 
production of the Muscovy Company's Map of Spitsbergen 
given in his No, Maris Land; and to Mr H. N. Stevens 
for supplying gratuitously for reproduction a facsimile of 
Foxe's Arctic Map. To Mr Addison, draughtsman to the 
Royal Geographical Society, I am indebted both for the 
actual drawing of the chart of Cook's routes, and also for 
useful advice in regard to the preparation of the other hand- 
drawn maps, for which I am myself responsible. 

The Index has been made as complete as possible in 
the hope that it may serve as a guide, not only to the 
contents of the book, but also to sources of further in- 
formation. Thus even where mere mention of a place is 
made in the present work, it is felt that the reference may 
be of use to students desirous of tracing the fortunes of 
such a place, or the course of European intercourse with it, 
in the narratives of the travellers themselves. 

In deference to modern usage, such forms as Hudson'^ 
Bay, the Straitj of Magellan, have been discarded, though 
at a certain expense of picturesqueness, and, in the second 
case, even of strict accuracy. 

In conclusion, my warmest thanks are due to the Editor 
of the series, Dr F. H. H. Guillemard, not only for the great 
interest he has taken in the book from the outset, but for 
his unstinted aid in proof-reading, and for his many valuable 
suggestions, which have eliminated not a few inaccuracies. 


I Savile Row, W. 
August, 191 2. 



Introduction i 


^1. The Arctic Regions, 1550— 1625 . ' . . 14 

1 'II. The East Indies, 1600— 1700 .... 47 

III. Australia and the Pacific, 1605—42 . 69 

IV. ^ North America, 1600 — 1700 .... 97 
/V. Northern and Central Asia, 1600—1750 . iiS 

VVI. Africa, 1600— 1700 143 

vVII. South America, 1600— 1700 r68 

~^lll. The South Seas, 1650 — 1750 .... 179' 

■ IX. The Pacific Ocean, 1764—80 . . . . 212 

«X. RU.SSIAN Discoveries in the North-East, 

1700 — 1800 256 

XI. The Northern Pacific, 1780— 1800 ... 273 

XII. The Southern Pacific, 1786 — 1800 . . . 302 ' 

/km. ^The French and British in North America, 

1700 — 1800 322 

"XIV. Spanish and Portuguese America, 1700 — 1800 350 

' XV. Asia, Africa, and Arctic, 1700—1800 . . 372 

Conclusion 407 ~ 

Supplementary Notes 410 

Index 417 


The Wright-Hakluyt Map of A.D. 1600. (Outline Sketch) Facing 
Title of the Wright-Hakluyt Map of A.D. 1600. (Facsimile) 
Map of the World by Porro, 1596 — 98. (Facsimile) 
Novaya Zemlya, showing entrances to Kara Sea. (Sketch-map) 
Boats' Adventure with a Polar Bear. From De Veer's narrative 

of Barents's Voyages. (Facsimile) 

Part of Hondius's Map of 161 1, showing Barents's Discoveries. 

(From the facsimile published by the Hakluyt Society) 
Sir Martin Frobisher. From Holland's Heroologia, 1620 
Hudson Bay and its approaches. (Sketch-map) 
Part of Foxe's Arctic Map, 1635. From North-West Foxe . 
The Muscovy Company's Map, 1625. From Purchas his Pilgrimes. 

Reproduced from Sir Martin Conway's No Man's Land by per 

mission of the author 

Van Langren's Map of Eastern Asia. From Linschoten's Itinerarium. 

etc., 1595 — 96. (Outline Sketch) ..... 
Sir Thomas Roe. From the Portrait in the National Gallery 
Dutch Chart showing results of Vries's voyage. From the copy in 

Leupe's edition of the voyage, 1858. (Outline Sketch) . 
Dutch Chart of Tasman's Discoveries. From the copy in Swart': 

edition of his Journaal, i860. (Outline Sketch) 
Samuel de Champlain. From Shea's copy of the portrait by Hamel 

(after Montcornet) in the Parliament House at Ottawa. (By 

permission of Mr Francis Edwards) ..... 

The Bison as figured by Hennepin. From his Nouvelle D^couverte, 

1697. (Facsimile) ......... 

Hennepin's Map, lower portion. From his Nouvelle Dicouverte, 

1697. (Facsimile) Facing 

Sketch-map of the Upper Amur Region 

The Rhubarb of China. From Kircher's China Illustrata, 1667 . 
D'Anville's Map of the Chinese Empire. From his Atlas. (Outline 

Sketch) ........... 

Western Portion of Ludolf 's Map of Abyssinia. From his Historia 

Mthiopica, 1681. (Facsimile) 











Evolution of Central African Cartography in the i6th century. 

(Sketch-maps) . . . . . . . . . .150 

African Elephant. From Labat's Nouvelle Relation de VAfrique 

Occidentals, 1728 159 

D'Anville's Map of Angola, etc. From Labat's Relation de VEthiopie 

Occidentale, 1732 ......... 164 

The Galapagos, by Eaton and Cowley. From Hacke's Collection of 

Original Voyages, 1699 . . . . . . . .185 

William Dampier. After an Original in the British Museum . . 188 
Dampier's discoveries in the New Guinea Region. From the chart 

in-his Travels. (Facsimile) 195 

Surrender of Tahiti to Wallis. From Hawkesworth's Voyages, 

1773 216 

Carteret's discoveries East of New Guinea. From the chart in 

Hawkesworth's Voyages ........ 220 

Captain Cook. From a negative lent by Mr Murray of the Portrait 
in Greenwich Hospital; reproduced by permission of the Lords 
Commissioners of the Admiralty ...... 227 

Sir Joseph Banks. From the Portrait in the National Gallery . 231 
Cook's Chart of the East Coast of Australia.. From Hawkesworth's 

Voyages. {Outline Sketch) ....... 233 

The Resolution. From a drawing in the possession of the Royal 

Geographical Society 239 

The Resolution among Icebergs. From the narrative of Cook's 

Second Voyage ......... 241 

The Sea Otter. Drawing by Webber, in the narrative of Cook's 

Third Voyage 251 

Cook's Routes. Based, by permission, on the Chart in Kitson's 

Captain Cook ........ Facing 254 

Sketch-map of North-eastern Siberia 257 

Sketch-map of North-western Siberia 263 

The Bering Strait Region. From Miiller's Map of 1754 — 58. (Out- 
line Sketch) 268 

Loss of boats at the Port des Fran9ais. From the Atlas to La 

Perouse's voyage 275 

La Perouse's routes in the seas north of Japan. (Outline sketch of his 

chart) ... 276 

Captain George Vancouver. From the Portrait in the National 

Gallery 286 

Section of Vancouver's General Chart of N. W. America. From the 

Atlas to his Voyage 296 

Governor Arthur Phillip. From the Portrait in the National Gal- 
lery 303 

The Island Groups of the Western Pacific. (Sketch-chart) . . 307 


Captain William Bligh. From the Portrait by Dance in the National 

Gallery . . . . . . . . . . .310 

The Great Slave Lake in Winter. From Hearne's Journey to the 

Northern Ocean 333 

Alexander Mackenzie. From the engraving by Cond^, after 

Lawrence, in his Voyages 337 

Western Portion of Mackenzie's Map, showing his routes. From 

his Voyages. (^Outline Sketch) . . . . . . .341 

Kentucky and its approaches. {Sketch-map) 347 

The Jesuit Map of Southern California. From Venegas's History of 

California. English edition, 1759. (Facsimile) . . . 354 
The Jesuit Map of Paraguay, by D'Anville. From the Lettres 

Mdifiantes et Curieuses. (Outline Sketch) . . . .361 

Don Felix de Azara. From the Portrait in the Atlas to his Voyages 365 
Renat's Map of Central Asia, 1738. From a facsimile in Petermanns 

Mitteilungen, 191 1. (Outline Sketch) . . . . -375 
View of Punakha, Bhutan. Sketch by Lieutenant Davis in Turner's 

Embassy 381 

Carsten Niebuhr. From the Portrait in his Reisebeschreibung, Vol. Ill, 

'837 383 

James Bruce. From the Portrait in the National Gallery . . 386 
Paterson's routes in South Africa. From the Map in his Narrative 

of Four Journeys, etc. (Outline Sketch) 395 

Constantine John Phipps, Earl of Mulgrave. From the Portrait in 

the National Gallery 404 


The closing years of the sixteenth century formed an important 
turning-point in the history of the world, and, as a natural conse- 
quence, in the more special field of geographical discovery also. 
A hundred years had elapsed since the great events which gave to 
the latter end of the fifteenth century its unique influence on the 
story of the nations — the discovery of America, and the first 
voyage to India round the Cape of Good Hope. During that 
interval Spain and Portugal, the pioneers in the new movement 
towards world-wide empire and commerce, had attained a degree 
of expansion unknown since the days of the Roman Empire, 
and, in virtue of the famous Bull of Pope Alexander VI, had 
practically divided the extra-European world between them. 
Fleet after fleet had been despatched from their shores, straining 
to the utmost the too scanty resources of the two nations, rein- 
forced though they were by the riches of Peru, and the spices and 
other valuable commodities of the East. Meanwhile, other nations 
were standing forth as possible rivals, and the arrogant claims of 
Spain and Portugal to exclude all others from the world's com- 
merce did but hasten the downfall of their supremacy. 

In the hope of securing a share in the East Indian trade the 
English long expended their energies on fruitless efforts to open a 
route by the frozen North, though the bold exploits of Drake and 
others brought them into actual collision with Spain on the ground 
claimed by her as her exclusive property. Private adventurers 
also made their way to the East, but it was not until the nautical 
supremacy of Spain had been broken in 1588 by the defeat of the 
" Invincible Armada," that the equal rights of all to the use of the 
maritime highways were vindicated. 

H. I 


It was, however, not the English, but the Dutch who were 
the first to avail themselves of the new opportunities. After the 
voyages of the Portuguese had made Lisbon the chief entrepot 
of the valuable Indian trade, Antwerp and Amsterdam rose to 
importance as centres of distribution of Indian goods over 
Northern Europe. Rendered desperate by Spanish oppression, 
the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands in 1580 declared 
their independence, and in retaliation Philip II, under whom the 
whole dominions of Spain and Portugal were then united, took 
the short-sighted step of forbidding the Amsterdam merchants to 
trade with Lisbon. Threatened with ruin, they were of necessity 
driven to more determined efforts to obtain an independent trade 
with the East, and though they too, for a time, made the mistake 
of searching for a northern route, they soon boldly resolved to 
enter into open competition with the Portuguese, and in 1595-96 
the first Dutch fleet sailed for India. An English expedition had, 
it is true, made its way to the East in 1591, but it proved un- 
successful, and it was not until 1599 that systematic steps for a 
direct trade with India were taken by the formation of the English 
East India Company. 

With the change thus brought about in the distribution of 
material power among the nations of Europe, it was natural that 
geographical discovery should also in future follow a different 
course. Whereas the great discoveries of the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries had been almost entirely the work of Spain and 
Portugal, with the beginning of the seventeenth the energies of 
both nations became suddenly paralysed, and after the first decade 
of the new century no more great navigators set sail from their 
shores. Their place was taken by the Dutch, French, and 
English ; the Dutch especially — who, as already stated, had gained 
a start on the English in the matter of Eastern trade — leading the 
way, during the early part of the new period, in the path of 
maritime discovery. But although the French lagged somewhat 
behind, as compared with the Dutch and English, in the prose- 
cution of Eastern enterprises, they were destined to play an 
important part in the exploration of the New World, especially 
in North America, to which their view had been directed from 
an early period, even in the sixteenth century.. By a curious 


coincidence the Russians were simultaneously entering upon a new 
period of activity in the broad regions of northern Asia. It was 
to these four nations therefore that the principal work in com- 
pleting the geographical picture of the world in its broad outlines 
was now to fall. 

Before proceeding to describe the course of discovery under 
the new order of things, it will be well to take a rapid survey of 
the state of knowledge of the globe existing at the close of the 
sixteenth century, and of the ideas which then prevailed respecting 
the still unknown portions. 

As regards the knowledge of the general distribution of land and 
water, a marked improvement had taken place during the latter 
half of the century. America, after the voyage of Magellan across 
the Pacific, had slowly taken its fitting place as an independent 
division of the land, being now regarded neither as an insular mass 
of comparatively small area, as had been supposed by the map- 
makers of the opening years of the century, nor as stretching 
across the North Pacific in a comparatively low latitude to join 
the eastern parts of Asia, as had been shown on maps dating 
from the middle of the century. The idea of a narrow strait 
separating the two continents in the far north was already gaining 
ground, though based apparently on a quite insufficient foundation. 

Much less had been done to clear up the uncertainties 
respecting the supposed Great Southern Continent, which had 
from very early times appealed to the imagination of philosophers, 
and the investigation of which was the most important piece of 
geographical work remaining to be done. Even before the 
voyage of Magellan, geographers had a strong beUef in the exist- 
ence of land beyond the southern ocean, and this was greatly 
strengthened by the passage of that navigator through the strait 
which bears his name, as it was naturally imagined that the land 
to the south of the strait formed part of a great continental mass. 
Whether or not the ancient and medieval geographers had to any 
extent based their ideas on vague rumours of Australia which may 
have reached the countries of southern Asia, is a question which 
cannot be answered; but it has been held with some show of 
reason that statements of Marco Polo, Varthema, and other 
travellers, point to a knowledge that an extensive land did lie to 


the south of the Malay Archipelago. It is an almost equally 
difficult matter, and one which concerns our present subject more 
nearly, to decide whether the indications of a continental land 
immediately to the south of the Archipelago, to be found in maps 
of the sixteenth century, were based at all on actual voyages of 
European navigators. The influence of the writings of former 
travellers and investigators is still seen in many of these maps. 
Thus the term " Regio Patalis," which occurs on many of the 
earlier maps as the designation of a southern land, is known to 
have been borrowed from early writers. In the maps of the 
Flemish school of cartographers — Ortelius, Mercator, and others 
— a continental land is vaguely shown, but the details respecting 
it are merely borrowed from Marco Polo. A special point, how- 
ever, about these maps is that New Guinea is correctly shown 
as an island separated by a narrow strait from the main mass of 
land, although it is stated in one at least that their relation was 
still uncertain. 

An apparently stronger argument for the view that Australia* 
had been reached during the first half of the century is supplied by 
a series of manuscript maps by a French school of cartographers 
(of which the best known representative was Pierre Desceliers), 
the earliest possibly dating from 1530. They all show, imme- 
diately to the south of Java, and separated from it only by a 
narrow channel, a vast land bearing the name Jave la grande. The 
details inserted on the coast line, though fairly full, are of little 
use for purposes of identification; but from some slight resemblance 
of the contours to those of Australia, and from the vast size of 
the land portrayed, it has been held that the maps in question 
prove that an actual discovery had been made. 

The unsupported evidence of these maps — which in other out- 
lying parts of the world contain many hypothetical details — can, 
however, be hardly said to justify any positive conclusion, and it 
may even be possible that some rough sketch of Java (then 
commonly known by Polo's designation " Java major ") may have 
been used to supply the outline and terminology of the supposed 
continental land^ However this may be, it is certain that such a 

1 The recently discovered Carta Marina of WaldseemilUer (1516) has a 
representation of Java which may be regarded as a first step towards the Great 
Java of the French maps. 


discovery was not generally known, and we may consider that to 
all intents and purposes the work of exploration in this direction 
had to start from the beginning in the period with which we have 
to deal. Elsewhere, though vast tracts remained a blank on the 
maps, the work of discovery did not set out, at the beginning of 
the seventeenth century, with quite such a clear field. We will 
take the various quarters of the globe in order, and note briefly 
the extent of knowledge possessed at the time with respect to 
each, and the chief tasks still to be accomplished. 

The «a;tensive exploration of Europe may be said to have been 
completed by the close of the sixteenth century. Such fantastic 
forms as had been given to the northern parts of the continent, 
including the British Islands, in maps of the early part of the 
century, and even in the famous map of Olaus Magnus of 1539 
(though this showed a great improvement on its predecessors), 
had given place to more correct outlines, thanks principally to the 
English voyages of Willoughby, Chancellor, Burroughs and others, 
and the Dutch voyages of Nai, Tetgales, and Barents in 1594-96. 
The copies of Barents' own map, published at Amsterdam in 
1599 and 161 1, show well the advance that had been made in the 
previous half-century (see p. 26). Russia too, though still im- 
perfectly known to the rest of Europe, had been rescued from the 
obscurity hitherto enveloping it by the work of Von Herberstein 
(1549), as well as by the travels of Giles Fletcher, Queen 
Elizabeth's ambassador to the Czar (1588), and of Anthony 
Jenkinson and other agents of the British Muscovy Company. 

The knowledge of Asia attained before the end of the sixteenth 
century may be considered under three heads. Firstly, that 
acquired by medieval travellers before the voyage of Vasco da 
Gama; secondly, that due to the voyages of the Portuguese and 
others by the sea route to India; and thirdly, the somewhat vague 
information respecting northern Asia acquired by Russian and 
Finnish merchants and voyagers during the course of the century. 
The first of these sources had supplied more or less detailed 
information respecting the whole of Asia south of Siberia, but the 
absence of accurate maps or scientific description caused much 
confusion of ideas with respect to it. For the southern and 
south-eastern countries, especially the coast-lines, this information 


was now superseded by the results of recent voyages, though, as 

we have seen, the statements of the early travellers continued to 

exercise a powerful influence with map-makers and cosmographers 

in Europe, if not with the voyagers themselves. For the whole of 

Central Asia, however, as well as the interior of China, the writings 

of Friar Odoric, Willem de Rubruk, Marco Polo, and the early 

missionary friars, remained the only sources of knowledge, and 

could at best present a most' imperfect picture of those vast 

regions. In the south and east the Portuguese voyages (recorded 

in the history of De Barros and the poems of Camoens) had 

before the close of the sixteenth century re-opened to the world a 

knowledge of the whole coast-line as far as the north of China and 

tlie Japanese islands. The greater part of the Malay Archipelago 

had become well known, including the northern coasts of New 

Guinea : but whether the southern coast of the great island had 

been explored is uncertain, the statement by Wytfliet that a strait 

existed between it and a land to the south being possibly based 

only on Mercator's theoretical representation. Some information 

had also been supplied regarding the various kingdoms of India 

and Indo-China by the travels of Duarte Barbosa, Caesar Frederik, 

Gasparo Balbi, Ralph Fitch, Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, and 

others, some of these having reached India overland, and thus 

contributed to a better knowledge of the countries of western 

Asia. The extensive travels of Fernao Mendez Pinto, though 

not published till the beginning of the next century, were carried 

out during the sixteenth, and, in spite of much exaggeration on the 

part of the traveller, threw considerable light on the 'state of the 

East in his time. Lastly, in Northern Asia, the newly awakened 

enterprise of Russian and other merchants had begun to make 

known the western parts of Siberia, including the coasts of the 

Arctic Ocean as far as the mouth of the Yenesei. The state of 

knowledge of this region at the beginning of the new century is 

shown by the map by Isaac Massa published in Holland in 1612. 

But the great advance of fur-hunters and of others across the 

wilds of Siberia was only just beginning, and the discovery and 

conquest of that vast region belongs almost entirely to the period 

dealt with in the following pages. 

In Africa, the end of the sixteenth century marks the close of 


a period of activity, to be followed by nearly two centuries of stagna- 
tion, so far as geographical discovery is concerned. The entire coasts 
were of course known, and in places, such as Benin, the acquaint- 
ance with the lands immediately in their rear was closer than was 
the case in our own times until quite recent years. There is no 
doubt, too, that some knowledge of the interior was possessed by 
the Portuguese at the time we are treating of, though to determine 
exactly the extent of that knowledge is a task of great difficulty, if 
not impossible, with the limited material we now possess. From 
the fact that maps of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries show the 
African interior filled in with lakes and rivers such as are now 
known to exist there, it has even been imagined that the Portuguese 
of those days possessed an intimate knowledge of Central African 
geography, rivalling that due to the explorers of the nineteenth 
century. It is necessary briefly to examine the basis of this idea, 
which we shall find a very unsubstantial one. The earlier carlo- ' 
graphers of the sixteenth century (WaldseemuUer, Ribeiro, and 
others) merely followed Ptolemy's account, and made the Nile rise 
from two or more lakes lying east and west a long way south of the 
Equator. In course of time, however, the vague informalion 
gleaned by the Portuguese on the east and west coasts seems to 
have been combined with the older conjectural geography, from 
Congo and Angola on the west, and Mozambique, Sofala, and 
Abyssinia on the east, rumours of lakes and empires reached the 
ears of travellers, and when these were put down on the maps 
with considerable exaggeration of distances, the whole interior 
became filled with detail, and names heard of from the opposite 
ends of the continent became confusedly mixed in the centre of it. 
The maps of Mercator (1541 and 1569), Gastaldi (1548), Ramusio 
(1550), and Ortelius (1570) are among the earliest examples of this 
type, all showing the Nile as rising from two great lakes lying east 
and west, south of the Equator. The well-known map of Filippo 
Pigafetta (1591), based on the accounts of Duarte Lopez, was 
evidently evolved in much the same way, though the lakes there 
appear north and south of each other. In all these maps the 
greater part of the geography represented is unmistakably 
Abyssinian (see sketches on p. 150). 

In other quarters the knowledge of the Portuguese was 


probably confined to the districts closely adjoining their colonies 
of Angola, Mozambique, and Sofala. Behind the two last named, 
expeditions had been pushed to a considerable distance, and 
Portuguese envoys had reached the country of the celebrated 
chief known as the Monomotapa, south of the central Zambezi. 
The power of this potentate became greatly exaggerated and he 
was supposed to rule over an empire equal to those of Asiatic 
monarchs. The Portuguese writers were acquainted with the 
famous ruins at Zimbabwe, which place the Jesuit priests are even 
supposed to have visited ; but this appears doubtful, as the name 
Zimbabwe was then applied to the residence of any important 
chief. The gold-producing region of Manica had certainly been 
visited before the end of the sixteenth century, and ruined forts 
now existing prove that the Portuguese occupation extended to 
the Inyaga country, a little further north, and was not confined to 
the Zambezi valley. On that river itself their knowledge seems 
to have extended about to the site of the present post of Zumbo, 
at the confluence of the Loangwa. 

In South America, discovery had made vast strides during the 
century following the first arrival of white men. Within the first 
SO years the whole contour of the coasts had been brought to 
light, though as the passage round Cape Horn had not been made 
before the close of the century it was still supposed by some that 
Tierra del Fuego formed part of a great southern continent. 
Before the new century began, the range of the Andes, with the 
important empires occupying its broad uplands, had been made 
known by the conquests of the great Spanish captains, while 
explorers of the same nation had also traced the general courses of 
the three largest rivers of the continent. By the voyage of 
Orellana in 1540-41, followed twenty years later by that of the 
tyrant Aguirre, almost the whole of the course of the Amazon had 
been laid down. In the system of the Plata the Spanish governors 
Mendoza and Alvar Nunez had ascended the Paraguay, pene- 
trating almost to the frontiers of Peru, besides forcing a way from 
the coast to the upper Parani. Of the Orinoco, the shortest of 
the three, less . had been explored, as the cataract of Atures had 
turned back more than one adventurous voyager. Its western 
tributary, the Meta, had, however, been ascended for some 


distance, and the wide plains at the eastern foot of the Andes of 
New Granada, about which our information is even at the present 
day far from perfect, had been traversed again and again by 
searchers after the fabulous city of " El Dorado" — the Golden 
Monarch. These included German adventurers like Georg von 
Speier, Nicholas Federmann, and Philip von Huten, as well as 
Spanish captains like Hernan Perez de Quesada and Antonio de 
Berrio. Under the latter the site of the city changed its locality, 
and the southern tributary of the Orinoco, the Caroni, became 
the imagined channel of access to its fabled lake; but little success 
attended his efforts to penetrate in this direction. Nor did much 
increase of knowledge result from the voyages of Ralegh and 
other Englishmen to the same regions. In spite of all this 
activity vast tracts of forest, especially in the Amazon basin, 
remained unexplored, and the whole southern extremity of the 
continent was entirely neglected whilst, even where travellers had 
penetrated, the geographical knowledge obtained was often of the 
vaguest, and imaginary dehneations of lakes and rivers long filled 
the maps. 

In North America much less progress had been made in the 
work of discovery. While the coasts facing the Atlantic up to the 
threshold of the Arctic regions had gradually been surveyed by 
voyagers of various nations, and a few had pushed up the remote 
Pacific coasts as far as Lat. 42° N., the whole of the northern and 
north-western shores — the former by reason of their icy barrier, 
the latter because of their distance from Europe — still remained 
unknown, though, as already stated, ideas of the existence of a 
strait separating north-west .America from Asia began to be current 
about this time. The whole of the northern and central interior, 
too, remained a blank on the map, and only on the confines of the 
Spanish viceroyalty of Mexico had any progress in land exploration 
been made. The example of the wealth of Mexico had led 
adventurers to roam the wide plains of the southern United States 
in search of fortune, and the expeditions of De Soto, Coronado, 
and others had made known something of the lower Mississippi 
and its tributaries, and of the more western regions up to the 
Grand Canon of the Colorado. But the absence of rich empires 
in this direction soon caused these efforts to be abandoned. In 


Florida, unsuccessful attempts at a settlement had been made by- 
French protestants, and further north, in Virginia, the first be- 
ginnings of the English settlements destined to grow in time to 
such vast proportions were in existence. Still further north, off 
the coasts of Newfoundland, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and 
English ships frequented the banks in large numbers for the sake 
of the fishery, and the French under Cartier had already led the 
way in discovery by the ascent of the St Lawrence beyond the 
present site of Quebec, soon to be the scene of colonising efforts 
on the part of their countrymen. A wide field for discovery was 
thus open in eastern North America, and the coming century was 
to witness a well-sustained activity, leading to a great enlargement 
of the bounds of geographical knowledge. 

In the wide domain of the Pacific Ocean much remained to be 
done, though fairly correct ideas as to its nature and extent had 
become current. Since the voyage of Magellan many Spanish 
navigators had crossed from the coast of America to the islands of 
the Eastern Archipelago, to which this was their regular route, 
owing to the division of the world between Spain and Portugal, 
the return voyage being made across the North Pacific in fairly 
high latitudes. From Callao in Peru Mendana had twice crossed 
the ocean in about io° S., discovering the Solomon and Santa Cruz 
groups and supplying apparent confirmation of the ideas then 
current as to the existence of a southern continent. On the 
second voyage he had been accompanied by the celebrated 
navigator Quiros, whose own chief work fell within the new 
century, and will be dealt with in the following pages. Other 
Spanish navigators had crossed the ocean north of the Equator 
from Mexico to the Philippines, and it has been supposed that 
Gaetano — the pilot who accompanied one of these, Villalobos, in 
T542 — afterwards made a voyage to the Sandwich Islands. But 
this discovery, if "made, was carefully kept secret, and had no 
influence on the subsequent history of Pacific exploration. The 
Englishmen Drake and Cavendish had likewise crossed the 
Northern Pacific, and just at the close of the century the Dutch 
expedition under Van Noort had followed, in the tracks of 
Magellan and for the fourth time effected the circumnavigation of 
the globe — but this belongs rather to the new than to the old 

1^ Joo »K> a!to ay. »V> *fa ?iN? a'ya dao ^ y-' yio S^o do .fio 3f» J ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 1*^" ^^ "" '" 

The Wright-Hakluyt Map of A.D. 1600 {OtUline s^^etch). 

a too iv> J30 J?" '**" ^■^'' '^° '^'"' '^ 



period. In most of these voyages certain definite routes had been 
followed, which missed many of the most important groups of 
islands. The information brought home with respect to those 
seen was very vague and fragmentary, and for the most part they 
can with difficulty be now identified. Both in the north and 
south, vast expanses of ocean remained untraversed, and the 
exploration of these, especially in the south, was one of the 
principal tasks of the coming century. 

In the Arctic regions some advance had already been made 
before the close of the sixteenth century, the new period having in 

\ aS rliaashovmyi^cmuJritieiJxGnKjKfhaiS'nd^^ 
in vlttLtd vijaint! lauphJc/ imdti^ibJc/Tzh\^h ^.ci' haiu in '' i/Jat-tjjt^TtA h ihe a-ikiwvlai- 
■ ttirtiiBntn/wirJfir piTi^-mfli. IJ^f trdy tolvi^i: tlx Cinirje fvm an^ iUU to-' ■ 

'^AerhefVtn ^^jcnhcn.itljpirth ly^rrr^irdm that whwi iS'-v&itnvxofdxtUme(aicha- 
.■H.SidtofviK-tlrilifUjiujifhth pukTs hauithclaiii^lahmJrJ^hi^r moiaisaiira^ 
ihtneriSiui ta^ jt tljot^lMhjJe'iiJv cmtttyrl^invtwcni^thtprpfiiixsjct^iti^^ 
.hanuats ^ ^ftauKt.. Ji'thcv differ m hmuiIcfie1xir:;iimiyilcijrTCS^ta: ^runaian/ ^, 

^i^dad the ittiM ^'inat'Siffnxiia lar caiRmd heh^^ rji 


Title of the Wright-Hakluyt Map of A.D. 1600. 

fact been ushered in by the early enterprise of the English and 
Dutch in this quarter, from about 1550 onwards. In dealing with 
this part of the world it will be advisable to go back to about that 
date, so as to give a more connected account of the progress 
achieved; and it is unnecessary to enter into the subject here. 

The state of knowledge respecting the world in general at the 
close of the sixteenth century is well shown by the map prepared 
under the superintendence of Edward Wright, the Cambridge 
mathematician, to whom the projection now known as Mercator's 
is held to be really due. This map, finished in 1600, and 
sometimes found inserted in the edition of Hakluyt's famous 
collection of voyages completed in that year, is the earliest 


English example of that projection. It differs from many maps 
of the time in its careful discrimination between actual dis- 
covery and conjectural geography, the latter being almost entirely 
excluded. Thus no trace is seen of the hypothetical southern 
continent, apart from a slight indication of land in the position of 
northern Australia. The recent Arctic discoveries are well shown, 
and it has been thought that John Davis had some share in its 
preparation. The strait which bears his name is correctly drawn, 
as well as the discoveries of Barents in Spitsbergen and Novaya 
Zemlya. In the Far East, too — whence, as we shall see later, 
Davis had recently returned — the map gives a very correct repre- 
sentation of the Archipelago, Japan, etc. North of the Pacific 
a wide blank occurs between the coasts of Asia and America, the 
conjectural connection between the two, and the equally doubtful 
Strait of Anian shown on so many maps of the period, being alike 
omitted. Another type of map, current about this time, is repre- 
sented by that of Ortelius, a reduced copy of which, prepared by 
Girolamo Porro for Magini's Ptolemy of 1596, is here reproduced 
from the Italian version of 1598. It will be noticed that the 
supposed southern continent here takes a prominent place. 



In the remarkable outburst of maritime enterprise which 
followed the discovery of America, it was the equatorial regions, 
with their real or supposed wealth in the precious metals and 
other valuable commodities, which above all stimulated the 
energies of such nations as, by their political influence or favour- 
able geographical position, had been called upon to take part in 
these adventures. But, side by side with this principal current of 
activity, there had begun to flow, in the course of the sixteenth 
century, a subsidiary stream of enterprise in the direction of the 
inhospitable North — a stream which, though at first but feeble in 
comparison, was destined to lead to results of great importance 
for the widening of the geographical horizon. And as it was the 
more southern peoples of Western Europe who had gained the 
chief glory and profit from the earlier quest, so it was the hardy 
seamen of the north who, as an equally natural result of geo- 
graphical position, carried off the lau'rels in the still more arduous 
task of seeking new routes through the frozen Arctic seas. 

The first beginnings of enterprise in this direction belong to 
still earlier times than the search for a route to the Indies, and 
are in fact to a great extent lost in obscurity. Long before the 
Venetian and Portuguese navigators began to venture into the 
unknown wastes of the Atlantic, the seamen of the north had 
carried out voyages unsurpassed for their daring even by the more 
fruitful exploit of Columbus. Before the end of the tenth century 
the most northern point of Europe seems to have been rounded 
by Other in the voyage narrated by him to our King Alfred, while 
in the following century the Norsemen (who had already colonised 
Iceland) found their way to the distant shores of Greenland, 

CHAP. I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 15 

■where, according to the story, two separate settlements were 
founded and existed for some centuries. They even appear to 
have reached some part of Eastern Canada or Newfoundland. 
The supposed voyages of the Venetian noblemen, Niccolo and 
Antonio Zeno, in the fourteenth century, have been proved almost 
with certainty to have been mainly, if not entirely, fictitious ; but 
that some glimmering of knowledge of these northern regions was 
possessed by the cartographers of the following century is shown 
by various maps that have come down to us, especially that of 
Claudius Clavus, the " earliest cartographer of the North." The 
rising spirit of maritime adventure found its first outlet in England 
in the voyages of the Cabots, father and son, though those of 
Sebastian, the son, have not yet been satisfactorily elucidated, 
and the idea once held that they reached as far north as the 
mouth of Hudson Strait rests on no sure foundation. The 
arguments put forward by Robert Thome in r527, as to the 
feasibility of a north-west passage, led to no immediate result, and 
it was some years later that the English merchants took the first 
important step towards securing a share in the benefits of distant 
trade, from which the jealousy of their continental rivals had 
hitherto excluded them. 

Mainly through the agency of Sebastian Cabot, an association 
was formed for " the discovery of lands, countries, and isles not 
before known to the English," and this received a royal charter in 
1549^ At this time the thoughts of the merchants were directed 
chiefly to the opening up of trade with the East by way of Northern 
Russia, and for this purpose an expedition of three ships was 
fitted out in 1553 and despatched under the command of Sir 
Hugh Willoughby, with Richard Chancellor as "pilot-major." It 
was furnished with "letters missive " from King Edward VI to 
the potentates of the regions Ukely to be visited, and sailed from 
Ratchffe on the Thames, full of high anticipation, on May 10, 1553. 

^ In the successive charters granted to this association of merchants, the 
title given to it varies considerably, giving rise to some confusion. It was for 
a time most generally known as the " Company of Merchant Adventurers,'' 
but this gave place in an act of parliament of 1556 to "The Fellowship of 
English Merchants for Discovery of New Trades," while the more commonly 
used title was that of the Russia or Muscovy Company. 

1 6 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 [CHAP. 

But it was doomed, to meet with disaster. After sailing along 
the coast of Norway the ships encountered boisterous weather, 
and two of them, the Bona Esperanza and Bona Confidentia (the 
former Willoughby's own ship), were driven hither and thither, 
and though they sighted land in the latitude of 72" (probably on 
the south-west coast of Novaya Zemlya), were finally forced to 
take refuge in the haven of Arzina^ in Lapland, where the whole 
of the crews perished miserably of cold and hunger. The third 
ship — the Edward Bonaventure, with Chancellor for captain, 
became separated from the others and succeeded in reaching the 
mouth of the Dwina in the White Sea, whence Chancellor and 
some of his companions travelled inland to Moscow, and were 
well received by the Emperor Ivan Vassilivich, thus paving the 
way for future trade relations between Great Britain and Russia. 
On his return Chancellor wrote a short account of the country 
and the manners and customs of its people — the earliest first- 
hand information on the subject which reached this country. He 
was drowned when returning from a later voyage in 1556. 

In 15SS a second voyage was made, and trade definitely 
estabhshed, while in 1556 the Company despatched Stephen 
Burrough, in the pinnace Searchthrift, to explore still further east 
in the direction of the river Ob. Burrough reached Vaigatz Island 
on July 31, and soon afterwards entered the Kara Strait between 
that island and Novaya Zemlya, which has been sometimes 
known, from him, as Burrough Strait. He was unable however 
to advance any distance into the Kara Sea, but turned back on 
August 5, wintering at Kolmogro at the mouth of the Dwina. 

The success of the trade with Russia diverted the energies of 
the merchants from the search for a north-east passage for some 
years, and it was not until 1580 that any serious attempt was 
made to prosecute discovery in this direction, attention having 
meanwhile been once more directed to the north-western route. 
Yearly voyages were however made to Kolmogro, and agents were 
regularly established in Russia to buy up commodities in readiness 
for the arrival of the ships, while some made their way on behalf 
of the Company as far as Persia and Central Asia. Hakluyt 

1 The Varzina river debouches on the north side of the Kola peninsula in 
about 384° E. It is already shown on Ortelius's map of Europe. 




prints the commission issued in 1568 (given as 1588 by a 
misprint) to three servants of the Company — Bassendine, Wood- 
cocke, and Browne — to explore eastwards beyond the Pechora, 
but nothing is known of the result. In 1580 the Company 
determined to renew their efforts for the discovery of a north- 
eastern route to Cathay, and commissioned two captains, Arthur 
Pet of RatcHffe and Charles Jackman of Poplar, to sail for that 
purpose, in the barks George and William of London, the former 


Novaya Zemlya, showing entrances to Kara Sea. 

of 40, the latter of 20 tons only. In spite of the ill-success of 
Burrough's attempt, it was still hoped that by passing through the 
strait between Vaigatz and Novaya Zemlya, a passage might be 
found to China in a generally eastward direction, as indicated on 
a chart which had been drawn by William Burrough. With our 
present knowledge of the difficulties to be encountered — difficulties 


30 great that the wished-for passage- was not made Until three 
Centuries after Pet-and Jackman's time — we can only wonder at 
Jhe sanguine spirit which regarded it as- possible that China could 
be reached, in the -small and frail vessels employed, during the 
same summer in which they set out, or at *orst -after one winter 
had been spent on the northern coast of Asia^. It was only in 
case the land shoulibe found to extend to 80° N., or even nearer 
the Pole, that the impossibility of the passage- was thought 
probable. In such a case, after as much of the coast as possible 
had been explored during the first summer, the explorers were 
recommended to winter in the Ob, and ascend it the next summer 
to the " City of Siberia." In any case all possible care was to be 
taken to enter into friendly relations with the inhabitants, and 
lay the foundations of future trade. A point to be specially kept 
in view, either on the outward or return voyage, was the examina- 
tion of " Willoughby's land," and its relation with Novaya Zemlya. 
Notes for the guidance of the voyagers were also supplied by 
William Burrough, Dr Dee, and Richard Hakluyt, the last dealing 
particularly with the commodities to be taken as specimens of 
English wares, and the points on which information was needed 
in regard to the countries visited. 

Although the amount actually accomplished fell very far short 
of these expectations, the two captains made a determined fight 
against heavy odds, and only turned back after trying every means 
in their power of pushing east across the Kara Sea. The ships 
separated, after passing the " Wardhouse " (Vardoe), owing to the 
bad saiUng of the William, but a rendezvous was arranged at 
Vaigatz. The first land sighted by the George seems to have been 
the south-west coast of Novaya Zemlya, but after vainly searching 
for a passage Pet went south and explored the mainland coast east 
of the Pechora, a part of which he took to be the island of Vaigatz. 

' A representation of the northern coast of Asia current about this time, as 
seen in Mercator's map of 1569, was still to a large extent based' on the old 
classical writers. It showed one decided promontory — Cape Tabin — running 
up into the Arctic Sea, but, beyond this, little further hindrance to a voyage 
to China iii latitudes far lower than the reality. Cape Tabin still appears in 
the m ap of Barents's discoveries drawn by Hondius for Pontanus's History of 
Amsterdam (rfiii), of whicha-portion is shown on p. 26. 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, I $ 50-1625' I9 

Going north again a meeting was liappily effected with the 
William, and the two ships entered the Kara Sea either through 
Yugor Shar, the narrow strait between Vaigatz and the mainland,^ 
or through the broad opening north of Vaigatz already discovered; 
by Burroughs. They were constantly beset by ice and baffled 
by fog, till at length, after vain endeavours to make headway, the 
navigators turned their faces homewards, only escaping from .the. 
ice with much difficulty. Further dangers were encountered on 
the shoals of Kolguev Island, and the ships again separated, the 
George safely reaching Ratcliffe on December 26, 1580, while 
Jackman, in the William, after wintering on the coast of Norway, 
set out in the following February towards Iceland in company 
with a Danish ship, and was never again heard of. 

Pet and Jackman deserve great credit for the boldness with 
which they fought their way through the ice-pack of the Kara Sea, 
as well as for their judgment and resource in availing themselves 
of any opening which promised to afford a passage. The difficulties 
of this navigation have baffled many a voyager even in modern 
times, and it is no matter for surprise that with their small, 
advantages they were unsuccessful in pushing further east. Little 
serious effort in this direction seems to have been made by the 
Muscovy Company for some years after this, though a rumour 
was current about 1584 that an English vessel had previously 
been lost at the mouth of the Ob, and its crew murdered; while 
information obtained in that year by Anthony Marsh, one of the 
Company's factors, points to a knowledge oh the part of the 
Russians at this time ofMatyuskin Shar, the strait between the. 
two large islands of Novaya Zemlya. 

The search for the north-east passage was now taken up with , 
much zeal by the Dutch, whose heroic attempts to open up the . 
much desired route must now be spoken of, before reoirfing to 
the efforts of the Muscovy Company. The first Dutch voyage to 
the extreme north of Europe seems to have been made in r565, 
when a trading post was established at a spot to which the name 

1 It has been generally held by English writers that the passage was made 
by Yugor Shar, which has therefore been often known as Pet's Strait, but 
reasons were put forward by Baron von Nordenskibld for supppsing that the 
route was to the west and north of Vaigatz. 

20 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 [CHAP. 

Kola was given. It is but little after this that we first meet with 
Olivier (or Oliver) Brunei, a man who took no small part in the 
further prosecution of Dutch northern enterprise, though himself 
a native of Brussels. Having undertaken a voyage from Kola to 
Kolmogro on the White Sea, he was made prisoner by the 
Russians, apparently at the instigation of the English, and remained 
so for several years. Being at last liberated through the good 
offices of the Anikieffs, Russian merchants associated with the 
Strogonoffs, he made several journeys of exploration on their 
behalf in the direction of the Ob, visiting Kostin Shar on one 
occasion. He helped to establish mutual trade relations between 
Holland and Russia, and eventually secured the support of the 
famous merchant De Moucheron for a voyage of discovery. 
Brunei set out in a ship of Enkhuysen in 1584, but met with 
no success, being baffled in an attempt to pass through Yugor 
Shar, and losing his ship, with a cargo of furs, etc., in the mouth 
of the Pechora. He is said to have afterwards entered the 
service of the King of Denmark, and possibly took part in the 
voyage of John Knight to Greenland in 1606. 

The town of Enkhuysen, which thus had the honour of leading 
the way in the Dutch voyages of northern discovery, was not long, 
in organising another attempt in the same direction. Among 
its citizens were several men who had interested themselves 
in geographical and commercial matters, including the famous 
Linschoten (whose long residence in the East Indies made him 
the foremost authority on all matters connected with the eastern 
trade of the Portuguese) and Cornelis Nai, an experienced 
seaman. The Middelburg merchant De Moucheron continued 
to turn his thoughts to the north-eastern route, and the divine- 
and geographer Peter Plancius was a zealous advocate of further 
enterprise. He did much to improve his countrymen's knowledge 
of navigation, and among his pupils were Willem Barents and 
Jacob van Heemskerk, each destined to play an important part 
in northern discovery. Both were capable seamen, especially 
Barents, who seems, like John Davis in England, to have been 
well versed in the science of navigation^- In 1594 two vessels. 

' Either he, or a contemporary of like name, was author of a sailing 
directory for the coasts of the Mediterranean. 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 21 

were fitted out — the Swan, commanded by Cornells Nai, and the 
Mercury, by Brant Tetgales, both natives of Enkhuysen. With 
Tetgales Linschoten went as commercial agent. At the same 
time the merchants of Amsterdam decided to take part in the 
enterprise, and fitted out a third vessel — also named the Mercury — 
and this was placed under the command of Barents^ with whom 
a small fishing-boat from Terschelling also sailed. The plans 
laid down by the Amsterdam adventurers differed from those 
of the men of Enkhuysen, the former considering that a route 
round the north coast of Novaya Zemlya would offer the greatest 
prospects of success, while the latter adhered to the idea, of 
entering the Kara Sea through one of the straits separating the 
several islands. As we have seen, some knowledge of Matyuskin 
Shar seems to have been gained by the Russians before this date, 
but the greater part of the coasts of the northern island were 
certainly unknown, so that the attempt to sail round its northern 
end betokened great hardihood, though quite justified by the 
measure of success now and subsequently attained by this route. 

Almost the whole of the voyage was made independently by 
the two parties, though all the vessels met at a rendezvous at 
Kildin, in Lapland, towards the end of June. On the 29th, 
Barents sailed for Novaya Zemlya, which was sighted on July 4 
in 73° 25' N., and followed northward to Cape Nassau, which was 
reached on the loth. Now began a heroic struggle to advance 
through the ice, which was here encountered in great quantities. 
It has been calculated that the various courses run by Barents 
on this coast make up a total of over 1600 nautical miles, the 
furthest point reached (July 31) being near the Orange Islands. 
The men now grew discouraged, and seeing but slight probability 
of accomplishing the object of the voyage, Barents reluctantly 
agreed to turn back. On August 15 he reached the islands 
"Matfloe and Dolgoy " (Matthew Island and Long Island) to 
the SSW. of Vaigatz, and fell in with the other captains, who 
had likewise returned from an ineffectual attempt to push eastward 
to the Ob. They had sailed through Yugor Shar, to which they 

1 The full name of the navigator was Barentszoon, contracted by the Dutch 
to Barentsz, but the form Barents may conveniently be retained in English. 
Nai is sometimes spoken of merely as Cornelis Corneliszoon. 


gave the name Nassau Strait, being the first navigators, with the 
doubtful exception of Pet, to pass through this passage into the 
Kara Sea. They claimed to have sailed eastward as far as the 
meridian of the mouth of the Ob, but as the distance given is only 
50 to 60 Dutch miles (each equal to four geographical miles), this 
can hardly have been the case. All four vessels now sailed home 
together, reaching their respective destinations about the end of 

The report made by Linschoten after the return of the 
voyagers estimated the chances of future success more favourably 
than was perhaps justified, and this encouraged the merchants to 
set on foot a more ambitious undertaking for , the following year. 
Seven vessels took part in it, and this time the Amsterdam 
merchants were willing to combine with those of the other towns 
interested, their two ships being placed, like the rest, under the 
command of Nai, who was appointed admiral of the whole fleet. 
He sailed in the Griffin of Zeelandt, while Tetgales and Barents 
commanded, respectively, the Hope of Enkhuysen and the 
Greyhound of Amsterdam (both new war pinnaces), Barents also 
undertaking the post of chief pilot of the fleet. The chief com- 
mercial agents were Linschoten, who again represented the 
merchants of Enkhuysen, etc., and Frangois de la Dale, who 
looked after the Moucheron interests. It was arranged that one 
of the smaller vessels, a yacht of Rotterdam, should return alone 
with the news, in case of a successful rounding of Cape Tabin, 
still supposed to be the crucial point of the whole navigation, the 
remainder of the passage to China being thought comparatively 
short and easy. As on the former voyage, a Slav named Spindler 
went as interpreter, to facilitate the hoped-for intercourse with the 
peoples of Eastern Asia. The fleet sailed on July 2, 1595, and 
on the 19th of the same month approached Yugor Shar, having 
the day before passed Matthew Island (" Matfloe "). The strait 
was blocked by immense masses of ice, and it soon became 
evident that its passage would be a matter of unusual difficulty, if 
not quite impossible. The ships anchored in a bay on the 
Vaigatz side^ behind the point known to the Dutch as Idol Point 
(not to be confounded with the spot at which Samoyed idols were 
found by Burrough, which was at the northern end of Vaigatz), 




and thence an examination of' the strait was made both by sea 
and land/ but with little success. Barents appears to have been 
the most energetic of the captains in his efforts to find a passage,, 
and he repeatedly renewed his attempts when the rest were ready 
to abandon the task as hopeless. But after immense exertions, 
which brought the ships only a small part of the way through thei 
strait, the outcome of various councils was that the men- of 
Amsterdam, whose obstinacy seems to have given some offence to 

Boats' adventure with a polar bear. 
[From De Veer's narrative of Barents' s Voyages^ 

their fellow-adventurers, at last agreed to turn back and joined in 
a protest signed by all the captains and the two commercial 
agents, declaring that all had done their- utmost to fulfil their 
commission, and that the only course open to them was to sail 
homewards. Thus ended the voyage on which such great expecta^, 
tions had been built, but which had in reality met with much less 
success than inany of the previous ventures, owing, it is true, to 
the unusual severity of the season, which had kept the ice in the 
Yugor Strait _packed-inta a solid mass throughout the summer. 

24 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 [CHAP. 

In spite of the ill-success of the expedition of 1595, the 
merchants of Amsterdam, encouraged no doubt by the ardour 
and sanguine spirit shown by Barents, were ready to make yet 
another attempt in the following year. It was the belief of 
Barents, founded on his experiences during the voyage of 15941 
that the greatest chance of success lay with the route round the 
north of Novaya Zemlya, and in this he had the support of the 
opinion of Plancius. Being now independent of their former 
associates, the Amsterdam merchants were able to form their 
plans in accordance with these views. Two ships, the names of 
which are not recorded, were fitted out, and placed under the 
command of Jacob van Heeraskerk and Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, 
who had been associated with Linschoten and De la Dale as 
commercial agents during the second voyage, Heemskerk having 
Barents with him as pilot and apparently leaving to him a large 
share in the direction of the voyage. The expedition sailed from 
Vlieland near Amsterdam on May 18, 1596, and in deference to 
the opinion of Rijp a course was steered further to the west than 
on the previous voyages, and this led to the discovery, on June 9, 
of Bear Island, long called Cherie Island by the English, being 
so named by Stephen Bennet seven years after its discovery by 
the Dutch. Here the voyagers landed, and gave the island 
its name from an encounter they had with a bear. Continuing 
their voyage towards the north, they reached the ice-pack on 
June 16, and after tacking to keep clear of it, found the latitude 
on the 17 th to be 80° 10'. On the same day high, snow-covered 
land was sighted, which was evidently the coast of Spitsbergen, 
east of Hakluyt Headland (as the extreme N.W. point of the 
group was afterwards named by Hudson), this island group being 
thus brought to light for the first time in the history of discovery. 
Before the end of the month the west coast was explored, south- 
wards, to 76° 50' N., the name still in use for the whole group 
being appHed to the newly discovered land by reason of its sharp 
summits (though it was taken to be part of Greenland), while that 
of Vogel Hoek was given to the north point of the Foreland (the 
long island lying a little off the coast) on account of the multitude 
of birds there seen. The mouths of Ice Fjord and Bell Sound 
were also noted. Bear Island was once more reached on July i. 


and here the two ships parted company, Rijp returning along the 
coast of Spitsbergen after a fruitless effort to push north through 
the sea to the east, while Heemskerk, yielding no doubt to 
Barents's persuasion, sailed for Novaya Zemlya^. The farthest 
point of the voyage of 1594 was successfully passed, the north- 
eastern promontory of the group being rounded and a bay reached 
on the east coast which received the name of Ice Haven. Here 
the ship was beset, and the navigators were forced to spend the 
winter in great misery. A house was built of drift-wood, which 
gave them some shelter from the cold, but scurvy broke out and 
caused much suffering, Barents himself being one of those most 
severely attacked. Time wore on, but summer approached without 
any prospect of the release of the ship. It therefore became 
necessary to attempt the homeward voyage with no better resource 
than two open boats, in which, on June 13, they embarked, 
fifteen in all, Barents and another man being still very ill. On 
June 20, when with incredible difficulties they were making their 
way down the west coast of Novaya Zemlya, the indomitable 
navigator, who had done more than any other to keep alive the 
hope of effecting the north-east passage, breathed his last, and 
two others of his comrades soon shared his fate. The survivors at 
length reached open water, and having obtained some help from 
two Russian vessels met with on July 28, made their way to Kola, 
where they found three Dutch ships, one of them commanded by 
their old comrade Rijp, who took them home to Holland. 

The feat thus accomplished ranks among the hardiest achieve- 
ments of Polar exploration. For the first time a party of men 
had wintered far within the Arctic Circle, suffering all the hardships 
inseparable from such a first experience, without any of the 
comforts enjoyed by those who have since followed in their 
footsteps. No other navigator visited their desolate wintering 
place until nearly three centuries later, when, in 1871, Captain 
Carlsen landed there and found the hut still standing, and various 
relics which had been left in it when abandoned by the early 
explorers. The death of Barents — perhaps the most hardy and 
capable navigator ever produced by Holland — was a great loss to 

1 See additional note on Rijp at the end of the volume. 

CHAP. I] THE -ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 2/ 

the cause of Polar discovery, and the small success achieved 
naturally led to a cessation, for the time being, of the Dutch 
search for a passage. The next attempt was to be made by the 
English in the person of Henry Hudson. 

Of the early life of this enterprising seaman we know absolutely 
nothing, and doubts have even been thrown, though with no 
sufficient reason, on his English nationality. In 1607 we find 
him in command of one of the Muscovy Company's ships — the 
Jlopewell—vihich. was to renew the search for a northern route to 
the East, on which so much energy had already beefi expended 
by the Company. The idea seems to have been to attempt the 
passage right across the polar area, according to a suggestion 
made many years earlier by Robert Thome. Thus instead of 
steering for Novaya Zemlya, or even for Spitsbergen, Hudson, 
who sailed from Gravesend on May i, directed his course towards 
the east coast of Greenland, which was sighted on June 13. The 
southern part, of this land had already been touched at more than 
once during the north-west voyages — which we shall have to 
consider presently — as well as by Cortereal in the i6th century. 
But even the point where it was first struck by Hudson was some 
way to the north, and a still higher latitude was attained during 
the further voyage ; though the observations of the coast, 
hampered as they were by the ice, did not supply any clear idea 
of its configuration, the land being still shown in subsequent 
maps as it had been in that of the Zeni and others of its type. 
Hudson, however, did a useful piece of work in following the 
edge of the ice-barrier which extends between Greenland and the 
neighbourhood of Spitsbergen, and proving that there was little 
likelihoo.d of a passage being found through it. Spitsbergen 
seems to have been struck near the Vogel Hoek of Barents, 
while during subsequent cruises a good part of the west and 
north-west coasts was examined, and the names Hakluyt's Head- 
land, Collins Cape, and Whales Bay assigned to localities on the 
west coasts On July 23 an astronomical observation, as recorded 
in the journal of John Playse (practically the only authority for 

^ Whales Bay was the opening in 79° just north of Prince Charles Foreland, 
Collins Cape being on its northern side. 

28 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 [CHAP. 

the voyage), , gave the latitude as 80° 23', but the correctness of 
this is doubtful. In any case enough was done to show. that no 
prospect offered of a passage through the ■ ice-pack, and after 
sailing to and fro for some time, Hudson was forced to turn 
homewards, falling in accidentally during the voyage with an 
island (in Lat. 71°) which must have been that of Jan Mayen, 
but which was named by him "Hudson's Tutches" (Touches). 
Tilbury was finally reached on September 15. Besides the 
negative result as regards the wished-for passage, the voyage was 
important for the attention called by it to the great number of 
whales and walrus in the Spitsbergen-Greenland Sea, the capture 
of which formed the incentive for so many subsequent enterprises. 
The failure of this attempt to pierce the northern ice-barrier 
did not deter the Company from renewing the search in the 
following year, when trial was once more made of the old route 
by Novaya Zemlya, Hudson being again in command, with 
Robert Juet as mate. Sailing from the Thames on April 22, and 
passing the North Cape on June 3, he navigated the sea between 
Spitsbergen and Novaya Zemlya, the first ice being seen on June 9, 
in 75° 29'. The day before, the change in the colour of the sea 
to a blue-black had been noted — a change which Hudson had 
already, in 1607, connected with the neighbourhood of ice, though 
the coincidence is now said to be purely accidental. For the 
greater part of this month the voyagers continued to beat about 
in this sea\ constantly hindered by ice from making any advance 
northwards. As they increased their longitude easterly, they 
were, in fact, compelled to lose some of their northing, and when 
Novaya Zemlya was sighted on June 26 near the point called 
Swarte Klip by the Dutch, they were as low as 72° 25'. Some 
time was now spent on this coast, landings being effected on 
several occasions and observations made of the general nature of 
the country, which they found less inhospitable than previous 
accounts had led people to suppose. Bird life was plentiful, and 
many deer, bears, and a fox were seen, the sea also abounding 
with walrus. Still going southward, they came to Kostin Shar, 
an inlet with an island dividing it into two branches, which 

' An occunence often referred to in connection with this part of the voyage 
was the supposed sighting of a mermaid — in reality, no doubt, a seal. 



had been reached by Brunei, but placed too far north and cor- 
rupted by map-makers into Costing Sarch. Here the powerful 
set of the current outwards gave Hudson great hopes of finding 
a passage to the Kara Sea, but an exploration by boat proved 
them fallacious. Therefore being, as he says, " out of hope to 
find passage by the north-east," Hudson reluctantly gave up the 
attempt, being "not fitted to try or prove the passage by Vaigatz," 
though on the return he hoped to ascertain whether Willoughby's 
land "were as it is layd in our cards." He also had some idea 
of making an attempt by the north-west, hoping to be able to 
run a hundred leagues or so within the sound then known as 
Lumley's Inlet — which may either have been Hudson Strait itself 
or a passage further north — and the " furious overfall " which had 
been seen by Davis (see p. 35). But the time being now far 
advanced he considered it his duty to the Company not to run 
unnecessary risks, and returned home, reaching Gravesend on 
August 26. 

It was not many months before the indefatigable navigator was 
once more negotiating with a view to a third northern voyage, but 
not now under the auspices of the English Company, which seems 
to have lost heart after such repeated failures. The circumstances 
attending the inception of Hudson's voyage for the Dutch East 
India Company are not fully known, but the main facts can be 
pieced together from scattered sources. Either at the end of 1608 
or the beginning of 1609 he was invited to Amsterdam to give an 
account of his northern experiences, and had ititerviews with 
Plancius and others; but though the Company thought that a 
further attempt would be worth making, they came to no imme- 
diate arrangement. Meanwhile a scheme, favoured by Isaac Le 
Maire, had been set on foot for the establishment of a rival 
company under the patronage of Henry IV of France, and the 
employment of Hudson on a northern venture. This led the 
existing company to reconsider their decision, with the result that 
a ship or ships ^ were equipped at once, and were ready to sail by 

' The greater part of the voyage was' made in the Half Moon, but according 
to statements in the minutes of meetings of the council of the Company, 
Hudson's ship was the Good Hope, and it has been thought that this may have 
sailed also, but it seems more probable that a confusion had arisen with the 
name of the ship in which he made his earlier voyage. 

30 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1 5 SO- 1 62 5 [CHAP. 

April 6, 1609. The greater part of the crew were Dutchmen, 
who seem to have been indisposed to accept Hudson's authority, 
for after sailing for Novaya ZemLya to make trial, as a last hope, 
of the passage by Vaigatz, he found disaffection existing; and, the 
ice giving no greater promise of success than in the previous year, 
he decided to search for a passage along the American coast, 
being encouraged to do this by letters and maps sent him from 
Virginia by Captain Smith ^. The result was the examination of 
a stretch of coast extending as far south as 37° 45', and the visiting 
and naming of the Hudson River. During the return dissension 
again prevailed, and on reaching Dartmouth on November 7, 
Hudson and the other Englishmen on board — among' whom 
was Juet, to whom we owe the only detailed narrative of the 
voyage — were ordered by the English authorities not to leave 
England, but to remain to serve their own country. It was not 
long before arrangements were made for an English voyage to 
the north-west, but before speaking of this we must go back some- 
what, and take up the thread of former attempts in this direction. 

The voyages of the Cabots, which led the way to the north- 
eastern coasts of America, were not, as we have seen, followed up 
for a number of years by any further efforts on the part of the 
British merchants. The chief credit of re-directing public attention 
to this route seems to belong to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, though 
there is little doubt that the idea of renewing the search where it 
had been broken off by Sebastian Cabot had been working in the 
minds of others, among them Martin Frobisher, to whom fell the 
actual task of carrying it out. In 1574 Gilbert wrote a learned 
discourse to show the probability that an easy route to India 
would be found by the north-west. While based to a large extent 
on mistaken premisses, it contained some shrewd ideas, and the 
argument for a north-west passage based on a study of oceanic 
circulation had in it- something more than mere plausibility. In 
the then existing state of knowledge it was certainly more justifi- 
able to conclude that an easy passage might be found on this than 
on the opposite side of the Atlantic; and that the Muscovy. 

' A renewed Dutch attempt by the north-east route, in i6ii-ia, is referred 
to at the end of the volume. 

■I] THE ARCTIC' REGIONS, 1556-1625 '31 

Company, which had all Cabot's experience at its disposal, should 
have so long persisted in its prefe'rence for the hor'th-ekst -route 
would be matter for surprise, were it not for the ehcojui-agerheht 
offered by the rapid development of trade with northern Russia. 
Gilbert's treatise was not printed till 1576, by which year Frobisher 
had already gained so much support, that he was able to sail from 
Ratcliffe on the Thames on June 7, the expedition consisting of 
the Gabriel, Frobisher's own ship, the Michael (Captain Matthew 
Kindersly), and a pinnace. The Queen had taken much interest 
in the preparations, and among the supporters were Michael Lok, 
a prominent merchant, Richard Willes^ and others. Having 
reached Foula, the westernmost of the Shetland Islands, Frobisher 
sailed slightly north of west, and on July 11 sighted land, which 
was taken to be the Frisland of- the Zeno map, the observed 
latitude of 61° corresponding to that assigned in this to the south 
end of Frisland. In reality it was the southern point of Green- 
land, and when this had been passed, a course somewhat north of 
west brought the ships to a new land, with much ice along its 
coast. On August 11, in 63° N., Frobisher entered what he took 
to be the desired strait leading to the Pacific, but which was 
really the bay, since known by his name, running into the south- 
eastern extremity of Baffin Land. This was explored during 
several days, and communication was opened with the Eskimo of 
that region, who are described as " like to Tartars." But it was 
found impossible to proceed to the end of the bay, and on the 26th 
the homeward voyage was begun, Harwich being reached early in 
October. The new land received, from the Queen herself, the 
name " Meta Incognita,'' or the Unknown Bourne. 

Frobisher renewed the search in the two succeeding years 
(1577- and 1578), in the latter with as many as 13 ships, but with- 
out materially adding to his discoveries. His ill-success in the 
primary object of his voyages made him catch at any chance of 
deriving a profit from the venture, and he brought home a cargo 
of a shining mineral which he thought to contain gold, but which 

^ Willes, like Gilbert, -wrote a treatise to prove the. probability of a north- 
west passage, in which he endeavoured to. answer the objections of those who 
took the opposite view. He states these with great clearness, but his own 
Arguments seem hardly calculated to "carry conviction.- 


proved quite worthless. The promoters naturally lost heart, and 
Gilbert was soon occupied with the colonising schemes in the more 
southern parts of North America, in the prosecution of which he 

Martin Frobisher. 

lost his life in 1583. But the efforts put forth were not without 
their ultimate result, for it was not long before others came forward 
to renew the enterprise, for which the discoveries of Frobisher, 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 33 

scanty though they had been, supplied both incentive and 

John Davis, the able navigator who was to take up the task 
where it had been left by Frobisher, was the son of a yeoman 
landowner at Sandridge in the parish of Stoke Gabriel on the 
Dart. Here he was a neighbour of the Gilberts, and was likewise 
brought into the society of their half-brother, Sir Walter Ralegh. 
Having probably been accustomed to the sea from his early 
youth, his advice was naturally sought by the promoters of voyages 
of discovery, among whom Adrian Gilbert, the younger brother of 
Sir Humphrey, took a prominent place after his brother's death. 
Another associate was Dr John Dee, the mathematician. In 1585 
a new scheme took shape, the necessary funds being provided by 
various merchants of London and the West Country, principally 
Mr William Sanderson, a wealthy and influential citizen of London, 
while the voyage had also the support of Sir F. Walsingham, 
Secretary to the Privy Council. Davis was placed in command, 
and sailed from Dartmouth on June 7, with two vessels, the 
Sunshine of London, a bark of 50 tons, and the Moonshine of 
Dartmouth, somewhat smaller. On the 28th they left the Scilly 
Islands — a survey of which was made during an enforced deten- 
tion — and sailed across the Atlantic without sighting land until, 
on July 20, the east coast of Greenland was struck, some distance 
north of Cape Farewell. From its barren and inhospitable nature, 
the land received the name of Desolation, being considered a new 
discovery, distinct from the land sighted by Frobisher and by him 
identified with Frisland. Rounding the southern extremity and 
resuming his north-west course, Davis again sighted the coast just 
north of 64°, the extensive opening where Godthaab now is being 
named Gilbert Sound. Hence he crossed the strait which has 
since borne his name and examined the opposite coast north of, 
and within, Cumberland Gulf, which seemed to offer good hopes 
of a passage westwards. But finding it too late in the season to 
continue the survey, he decided to return to England and arrived 
at Dartmouth on September 30. 

Davis soon persuaded the merchants to fit out another expedi- 
tion, the men of Devon, especially the Exeter merchants, con- 
tributing the greater part of the cost. Four ships were made 

H. 3 


ready^the Mermaid, Sunshine, Moonshine, and the North Star, 
a pinnace — and sailed from Dartmouth on May. 7, 1586. The 
Sunshine and North Star were sent under Captain Pope to survey 
the east coast of Greenland, while Davis with the other two 
vessels made his way to Gilbert Sound, where friendly intercourse 
was maintained with the Eskimo. The Mermaid was sent home 
hence, owing to sickness among the crew, while Davis in the 
Moonshine resumed his examination of the American shore of the 
strait, but without adding materially to his knowledge. He sailed 
south along the Labrador coast, and secured a large number of 
cod, which were salted and taken home, a way being thus 
suggested, of recovering some at least of the expense incurred. 
The Sunshine had already arrived in safety, but the pinnace had 
unfortunately been lost in a storm 

Little had been done on this voyage in the way of exploration, 
and the Exeter merchants did not care to risk another venture. 
But Davis still found support from Walsingham, Gilbert, 
Sanderson, and others. Three ships were equipped for a third 
voyage in 1587, but two of these were to prosecute the fishery 
only, while Davis in the third attempted further discovery. They 
were the Elizabeth (of Dartmouth), the Sunshine, and the Ellen (a 
"clincher" or clinker-built pinnace of London). Davis seems to 
have sailed in the Elizabeth but to have afterwards transhipped 
into the Ellen. The voyage yielded greater geographical results 
than any of the previous searches for the north-west passage, and 
forms the best title to fame of the bold and skilful seaman who 
conducted it. Dartmouth was left on May 19, and though the 
start was in some ways unpropitious, the crossing of the Atlantic 
was successfully accomplished, and mountainous land was sighted 
on June 14. This was on the west coast of Greenland, for two 
days later communication was opened with the Eskimo who had 
been visited on former voyages, with whom the explorers now had 
some difficulties. The Ellen sailed north, alone, on June 21, and 
continued to follow the land (which they named London Coast), 
with an open sea to the west and north, up to 72° 12', when a 
course was shaped to the west. The highest point reached — a 
bold headland over 3000 feet high — had been named Hope 
Sanderson, in honour of the London merchant who had given 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 35 

Davis so much encouragement. While crossing the gulf since 
known as Baffin Bay, they fell in with the ice-pack, which for 
some time baffled their efforts to reach the western shore, forcing 
them southwards, so that when land was sighted they were near 
the narrows of Davis Strait. Making their way through this on a 
southward course they passed the mouth of an inlet between 62" 
and 63" N., which may have been that explored by Frobisher, but 
which they named Lumley's Inlet, and on the 31st came to a 
spot where the water was in great commotion, " whirling and over- 
falling as if it were the fall of some great water through a bridge.'' 
They noticed here a great gulf which can have been no other than 
Hudson Strait, and named the cape to the south Chidley's Cape. 
Reaching 51° without seeing anything of the other ships, they 
sailed homewards, and arrived at Dartmouth on September 15. 
By this time the small likelihood of making the whole passage 
through to the Pacific in one voyage must have been fairly 
evident, and any results would be welcomed which, by extending 
the bounds of the known area, might pave the way for ultimate 
success. It was from this point of view that Davis's services were 
particularly valuable, for by his three voyages, especially the last, 
he had thrown more new light than any of his predecessors on the 
general outlines of land and sea in the far north-west. Yet there 
were not wanting those who blamed him for not accomplishing 
more, and the failure to find a passage discouraged the promoters 
from continuing the quest in the years immediately following. 
Although Davis had shown the great probability that openings 
existed in the American coast-line, in comparatively low latitudes, 
the next serious attempts, both of Dutch and Enghsh, were, as we 
have seen, by the north and north-east. Only when Hudson had 
proved by actual experience the hopelessness of finding a way to 
China by these routes did he in turn devote his energies to the 
north-west, where, in 1610, he took up the search almost from the 
point at which it had been left by Davis ^ 

. Several voyages had, it is true, been made to the north-west in 

the interval between 1587 and r6 10, but of these either the results 

were practically nil, or the objects were other than the search for 

1 The later voyages of Davis, to the East Indies by the Cape route, are 

spoken of in Chapter 11. pp. 49, 63- 

^ — 2 


a passage. In 1602 the English East India Company sent out 
George Weymouth, who quickly returned owing to a mutiny 
among his crew, and has left no clear account of the voyage, 
though it is probable that he entered Hudson Strait. The ill- 
fated voyage of 1606 under John Knight, supported both by the 
East India and Muscovy Companies, had still less result. Knight 
had the year before taken part in the earlier of two expeditions 
sent out from Denmark in search of the lost colonies of that 
nation on the coast of Greenland, the command of the whole 
being entrusted to a Scotsman, John Cunningham, while the 
important post of chief pilot was held by a Yorkshireman, James 
Hall, who subsequently commanded an English expedition to the 
same region. Hall went in the same capacity in 1606 (Cunning- 
ham also going as captain of one of the ships), and it is to him 
that any results of value seem to have been due. They consisted 
chiefly in a fuller examination than had been made by Davis of the 
west coast of Greenland. 

We may now return to Henry Hudson, whose voyage of 16 lo. 
was supported by several of the merchant princes who did so- 
much at this time to encourage geographical discovery. The most 
prominent of these were Sir Thomas Smith, a zealous member 
both of the Muscovy and East India Companies ; Sir Dudley 
Digges, son of the noted mathematician Thomas Digges, and 
himself a man of great ability and determination ; and Sir Joha 
Wolstenholme. A single vessel, which bore the name Discovery, 
since so honoured in the annals of exploration, was fitted out, the 
object, according to Purchas, being "to try if, through any of those- 
inlets which Davis-saw but durst not enter, any passage might be 
found to the other ocean called the South Sea." Robert Juet 
once more sailed as mate, and soon began to display the in- 
subordination which had in the end such tragic consequences. 
Robert Bylot or Byleth, who later took a prominent part in Arctic 
exploration, was also of the number. Sailing on April 17, the 
voyagers passed in view of Iceland, where they saw Hekla in 
eruption, sighted Greenland, in about 65°, on June 4, and passed 
its southern point, "Desolation" of Davis, on the isth. Sailing 
thence north-west and west, they entered Hudson Strait on the 



night of June 24-25. Continuing to sail west amid much ice, 
and sighting the land on either side from time to time, they passed 
the " Islands of God's Mercy," " Hold with Hope," " Salisburies 
Fore-land" (on Salisbury Island), and other points, and, after 
covering about 250 leagues, entered the narrow passage between 
Digges Island and Cape Wolstenholme which led into the broad 
waters of Hudson Bay, called by the explorer " the bay of God's 

Hudson Bay and its approaches. 

great mercies." Keeping to the east side of the bay, they went 
generally south until further advance was barred on reaching the 
extremity of James Bay. The account written by Abacuk 
Prickett, the only at all complete narrative of the voyage that we 
possess, does not permit the further course of the Discovery to be 
followed in detail, but after beating up and down James Bay in 
the vain hope of finding a way out to the west the ship was frozen 
in on November 10, and it became necessary to pass the winter in 
this inhospitable region without a possibility of replenishing the 

38 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 [CHAP. 

fast-dwindling supplies. It was spent in great discomfort, the 
only resource afiforded by the country being a limited quantity of 
fish and fowl. Discord also prevailed and, when the food was all 
but spent, open mutiny broke out. Hudson and a few who stood 
by him were placed in an open boat and mercilessly abandoned 
to their fate, while the mutineers sailed homeward in the ship, 
experiencing great difficulties owing to their lack of the necessary 
qualifications for navigating these all but unknown seas. Among 
them was Prickett, the writer of the narrative referred to, who 
though according to his own account not implicated in the mutiny, 
was kept on board by the ringleaders apparently with a view to his 
influencing his master. Sir Dudley Digges, in their favour. 

Thus perished miserably one of the most persevering and 
meritorious of the old Arctic voyagers, but his important dis- 
coveries were followed up two years later by Sir Thomas Button, 
who, with Captain Ingram, was sent out in 161 2 by the same 
enterprising adventurers, then incorporated as a company for the 
discovery of the north-west passage. Button reached the mouth 
of the Nelson river (where he wintered in much privation), thus 
defining approximately the limits of Hudson Bay to the west, 
though in spite of a. renewed examination to the north of this in 
the ensuing spring the wished-for passage still eluded his search. 
Still less was achieved in 16 13 by Captain Gibbons, who never 
advanced beyond the Labrador coast. In 1614 the Discovery was 
sent a fourth time with Robert Bylot or Byleth as master. He had 
taken part in the three previous voyages, and was a capable 
navigator, though his fame has been overshadowed by that of his 
better-known chief pilot, William Baffin, who is entitled to rank 
with seamen like Davis and Hudson. 

Baffin had already been employed in responsible positions, 
and had made three voyages to various parts of the Arctic regions. 
We first hear of him in 161 2, when James Hall — the Yorkshire- 
man already referred to in connection with the Danish voyages, 
who had returned to England on their termination — induced Sir 
Thomas Smith and others to join in a venture to the west coast of 
Greenland, himself saiKng as commander in the Patience, while 
a second ship, the Heart's Ease, had as master Andrew Barker. 
Baffin went as chief pilot in the Patience, and wrote the narrative 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 39 

of the voyage, of which a portion has been preserved by Purchase 
The expedition sailed from the Humber on April 22, 1612, but 
was unfortunate. Hall being murdered by the Eskimo in retaliation 
for wrongs done by the Danes, with whom he had been associated. 
The Greenland coast, however, was examined for some distance, 
north of Gilbert Sound. During the next two years Baffin took 
service under the Muscovy Company and did some good work in 
Spitsbergen, but, as we have seen, joined the north-west voyage of 
1614 under Bylot. 

In this voyage, Hudson Strait was again the line of approach 
to the unknown region, and though much hindrance was expert' 
enced from ice, certain new coast-lines were brought to light to the 
north-west of the strait, while careful observations of, the tides 
were made throughout. The general set of the flood from the 
south-east was fully established, and though the navigators' hopes ■ 
were temporarily raised when some distance north-west of Seahorse 
Point^ on Southampton Island by its coming from the north, these, 
proved fallacious, as it was soon found that further advance was 
blocked by land, ice, and shoal-water, which seemed to form an' 
enclosed bay. It was therefore soon afterwards decided to sail 
home, and Plymouth was reached on September 8, without the 
loss of a single man. 

During this voyage Baffin had done his best to obtain an 
accurate representation of the coasts sighted, by means of 
astronomical and other observations, and his carefully drawn map, 
which has come down to us, gives an excellent idea of the region of 
Hudson Strait. On one occasion he attempted— for the first time, 
so far as records exist — to put in practice the method of finding the 
longitude by means of lunar distance. As a general result of his 
observations, he gave it as his opinion (in which he was not far 
wrong), that any passage which might exist by way of Hudson 
Strait must be by means of a narrow inlet, while the main channel 
probably opened out of Davis Strait. 

Accordingly when the Discovery was once more sent out by 
the same adventurers in 161 6, Bylot and Baffin occupying the 
same respective positions, the search was renewed in the more 

1 Another account was written by John Gatonby of Hull. 

2 So named by Baffin from the number of walrus seen. 


northerly direction, and bore fruit in the discovery of the whole 
extent of Baffin Bay up to the entrance of Smith Sound in 78° N., 
or over 5° north of the furthest point reached by Davis. For a 
time the sea was filled with heavy pack-ice, but towards the end of 
June this rapidly disappeared, and good progress was made, giving 
the voyagers hopes of a passage. But after reaching Hakluyt 
Island, between Whale Sound and Smith Sound, the land was 
found to be closing in on the north, and the ship ran to the west- 
ward in an open sea with a stiff gale of wind. Bending round to 
the south, Baffin passed in succession the openings of Jones 
Sound and Lancaster Sound, but these seem to have offered no 
chance of a passage, being probably blocked by ice. The west 
coast, too, was much encumbered with ice, so that it was im- 
possible to keep it in sight, and having come down to the latitude 
of 65° 40', Baffin finally abandoned all hopes of success. 

It may be thought strange that, having seen the entrances to 
Jones and Lancaster Sounds, Baffin never considered the possi- 
bility of an advance through either of these. But it is evident 
that, as on the voyage of the year before, he was in search of 
a wide passage such as is afforded by Baffin Bay itself, narrow 
straits encumbered with ice being naturally considered unfit to 
supply a practicable commercial route to the Pacific. Having 
therefore proved that no such wide opening existed to the west, 
Baffin regarded the problem as virtually solved in the negative 
sense, and ■ he held out no inducements to his employers to 
continue the enterprise. He had now seen his last of polar 
exploration, and the rest of his voyages were made in the service 
of the East India Company, in which he met his death during an 
attack on Ormuz in 1622. 

Several more attempts were made by the Hudson Bay route 
before the search was given up— if not finally, at least for a century. 
In 161 9 a Danish expedition was despatched under Captain Jens 
Munk, one of the most capable seamen in the Danish navy, who 
had previously had some Arctic experience in the Novaya Zemlya 
seas. A Danish East India Company had been formed in 16 16, 
and had received warm support from King Christian IV, who 
likewise, three years later, encouraged the idea of a voyage in 
search of the north-western route, the. command of which was 

I] THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1550-1625 4I 

entrusted to Munk. The locality which was thought to offer most 
likelihood of a passage seems to have been that part of Hudson 
Bay near the mouth of the river now known as the Churchill, 
where observations of the tide during Button's expedition had 
suggested the existence of some connection with the Pacific, and 
had been named Hubbart's Hope, after a member of that expe- 
dition. Munk (who had with him two Englishmen, one at least 
of whom may have been in Hudson Bay before) began by 
examining Ungava Bay, and then, after traversing Hudson Strait, 
of which he made a map, sailed south-west to a point near 
the Churchill, where he wintered. Misfortune soon assailed his 
party, the greater part of which succumbed to scurvy, while the 
survivors — Munk himself and two others — with difficulty made 
their way home in the smaller of their two vessels. Apart from 
some mapping of the coasts, the voyage had achieved little in the 
way of geographical discovery. 

More was done by the English expeditions of Captains Luke 
Poxe and Thomas James, who both sailed in 1631, and examined 
the whole south-west shores of Hudson Bay, showing that con- 
tinuous land blocked the way. Foxe was an experienced seaman, 
haUing from Hull, who had long been interested in Arctic 
discovery, and after many efforts succeeded in gaining the 
support of Sir John Wolstenholme, Sir Thomas Roe, and other 
influential men, the result being that the Charles, a pinnace 
belonging to the navy, was placed at his disposal. James was 
a man of more education, but less nautical experience, who 
persuaded the merchants of Bristol to fit out an expedition in 
rivalry to that of Foxe. The two vessels sailed almost simul- 
taneously, and both carried out much the same programme, 
though they did not meet till well on in the season. Both traced 
the south-west shores of Hudson Bay until they Unked their 
surveys with those of Hudson, but whereas Foxe then returned 
north and explored the channel now called after him, beyond the 
turning-point of Bylot and Baffin, James decided to winter in the 
bay which has ever since borne his name. He and his men 
suffered many hardships, and judging from his own account, he 
was unusually unfortunate in the difficulties from ice and other 
obstacles which he encountered. In 1632 he too searched for the 


northern channel out of the bay, but failed to find an outlet and 
returned home without accomplishing anything very important. 
The result of the two expeditions was, however, to show that no 
way out of the bay existed to the west, and though the possibility 
of a passage to the north-west was not disproved (Foxe seems on 
the contrary to have still felt confident that one existed), the 
patrons of discovery were not encouraged to make any more 
efforts. Both Foxe and James wrote accounts of their voyages, that 
of Foxe — which embodied also narratives of former attempts in 
the same direction — bearing the quaint title North- West Fox, or 
Fox from the North-West Passage. It contains a famous map, 
which shows the Arctic regions as then known with a remarkable 
degree of accuracy. A portion is here reproduced in facsimile. 
While Foxe's .narrative was somewhat rugged in style, that ot 
James, who was a man of some culture, possessed a good deal 
of literary rnerit, and from the first attracted some attention. 

We must now return to Spitsbergen, to which the large number 
of whales and other marine animals reported by Hudson attracted 
adventurers of various nationalities in increasing numbers during 
the early part of the seventeenth century, leading incidentally to a 
considerable increase of geographical knowledge. The English 
were first in the field, though they were driven to seek the aid of 
the Biscayans as experts in the fishery. From 1610 onwards the 
Muscovy Company sent up vessels yearly, the earliest voyages 
being made under Captains Jonas Poole and Thomas Edge 
(1610-1612), who examined various bays on the west coast. An 
English interloper. Captain Marmaduke, was also hunting walruses 
in the Spitsbergen seas during these years, and in 1612 visited 
some of the bays on the north coast, besides going north to 82°. 
A Dutch and a Spanish ship — the former commanded by Willem 
van Muijden— also found their way there, piloted by Englishmen, 
former employes of the Muscovy Company. In 1613 — a charter 
giving this company exclusive rights to the fishery having been 
obtained from King James— a fleet of seven vessels was despatched 
under Captain Benjamin Joseph, and this, as we have seen, had 
as chief pilot Baffin, who wrote the account of the voyage. 
The "Vice- Admiral" was commanded by Thomas Marmaduke of 

Part of Foxe's Map, 1635. 


Hull. In the following year a still larger fleet was sent under 
Joseph and Edge, Baffin holding the same position as before. A 
narrative was written by Robert Fotherby, master's mate in the 
Thomasine (in which Baffin also sailed), who took a foremost 
part in the endeavour to explore new portions of the coast- 
line. Several attempts were made by himself and Baffin to 
trace the northern coast, and, pushing their way partly by boat 
partly on land, they at last succeeded in reaching the entrance to 
Wijde Bay, which they called Sir Thomas Smith's inlet. The ice 
was particularly close inshore during this year, and it was only at 
the close of the season that they were able to bring their ship 
round to the same point. The Dutch were also in full force, and 
established their claim to a share in the fishery, which had been 
successfully resisted by the English the year before. Two ships, 
in one of which was the pilot Joris Carolus, were specially set 
apart for discovery, but the ice apparently prevented them from 
effecting much. From a map drawn by Carolus, which shows 
land to the east of Spitsbergen, it has been thought that some 
exploration was done in this direction, but this is exceedingly 

From this time onward the Dutch, as represented by the 
"Noordsche Compagnie," were more and more active, and in 
time established a virtual monopoly of the fishery, their chief 
quarters being at Smeerenberg, at the south-east end of Amsterdam 
Island. The Muscovy Company continued to send ships for a 
time, and in 16 16 Thomas Edge was active in the south-east, 
where the small Hope Island seems to have been already reached 
in 1613. Besides Edge Island, " other islands lying to the north- 
wards as farre as 78°" are said to have been discovered in 1616, 
while in 161 7 the adventurous explorers pushed still farther, 
reaching 79° or thereabout, probably by way of the Great Sound, 
afterwards called Wijbe Jans Water. The narrow passage by 
which this communicates at its upper end with the open sea to the 
east must have been visited, for it received the name Heley Sound 
from one of the most active captains in the Company's fleet. From 
some point in this neighbourhood the third large island of the 
group — North-east Land — seems to have been sighted. It was 
named Sir Thomas Smith's Island, and so appears in the map 

The Muscovy Company's Map of Spitsbergen, 1625. {From Purchas.) 

46 THE ARCTIC REGIONS, 1 550-1625 [CHAP. I 

printed by Purchas in 1625, which is reproduced on the previous 
page. Some doubt exists whether the islands now called Kong 
Karl's Land were discovered in this year. Purchas states that 
an island was discovered, which Edge named Witche's Island 
{i.e. Wyche's, from Sir Peter Wyche, a leading member of the 
Muscovy Company), and this is marked on the map just alluded 
to as stretching from north to south for a long distance, to the 
east of Edge Island. The latitude here assigned is too low for 
Kong Karl's Land, so the idea that this was reached has been 
discredited, but it is possible that, though not actually visited, it 
was sighted, like North-east Land, from some point of vantage 
near the head of Wijbe Jans Water. 

As time went on the Dutch became more and more powerful 
relatively to the English, and the latter suffered much at their 
hands. The energies of all were concentrated on whaling opera- 
tions, and few important additions to geographical knowledge 
were made for many years, though the coasts of the various 
islands became in course of time more accurately represented on. 
the maps. Hinlopen Strait, between the two largest islands, must 
have been discovered fairly early, as it is named after a director of 
the Dutch Company who held ofiSce from 161 7 onwards. Events 
worthy of mention were the accidental wintering of an English 
party (among whom was Edward Pelham) in 1630-31, and that 
carried out of set purpose, by a Dutch party under Van der 
Brugge, in 1633-34. The last event of geographical importance 
connected with the early whaling enterprise was the voyage of 
Comelis Gilies, or Giles, round the northern and eastern sides of 
the group in 1707. But this, as well as one or two isolated 
attempts at discovery in the direction of Novaya Zemlya towards 
the close of the 17th century, must be left for a later chapter (see 
p. 400). 



Although little positive geographical discovery resulted from 
the early trading voyages of the Dutch and English to the Eastern 
seas, it will be necessary briefly to refer to them, as they were of 
considerable importance in familiarising the navigators of those 
nations with voyages to the newly discovered regions, and so 
leading the way to a future extension of knowledge. 

After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the English were the 
first to make the voyage by the route opened by the Portuguese, 
but the first enterprise resulted in failure, although one of the 
three ships engaged in it reached the Eastern seas. The fleet was 
commanded by Captains Raymond and Lancaster, and set sail on 
April 10, 1591. Raymond's ship was lost on the voyage, but 
Lancaster in the Edward Bonaventure, after touching at Zanzibar, 
doubled Cape Comorin in May 1592, and after sighting the coast 
of Sumatra reached Penang in June. After touching at St Helena 
on the return voyage the ship encountered baffling winds and was 
forced to run for the West Indies. Here the crew met with many 
adventures, and, after losing his ship, Lancaster returned home 
in a ship of Dieppe, over three years having been spent on the 
voyage. In 1594 Lancaster undertook a voyage to Pernambuco, 
but no further effort to open an intercourse with the East was 
made by the English until the closing year of the century, before 
which the Dutch had already secured a share in the Indian trade. 

Like the English, the Dutch had begun by attempting the 
discovery of a route to the East by way of the Arctic seas, and it 
was only after the first unsuccessful voyage of Barents for this end 
that the voyage to India by the Cape was determined on. In 




February 1594-5 the first fleet, consisting of four ships, sailed 
from the Texel under the command of Cornelis Houtman and 
reached Bantam in Java in 1596. Here a long time was spent 

Linschoten's Map of Eastern Asia. (Outline sketch, reduced.) 

in negotiations for a cargo of spices, but, owing apparently to 
the machinations of the Portuguese, difficulties arose with the 


governor, leading to Houtman's temporary imprisonment, and 
eventually to open hostilities. The fleet sailed along the coast 
of Java eastward, and again became mvolved in hostilities, but 
was able finally to refresh on the east coast between Java and 
Bali. The return was made along the south coast of Java, this 
being. the first recorded occasion on which any European vessel 
had taken this course'. The voyage was therefore useful as 
giving a more correct idea of the width of the island than had 
before prevailed. Among the curiosities brought home to Holland 
was a specimen of the cassowary, presented to one of the cap- 
tains while on the north coast of Java, which must have been 
brought from Ceram or the Papuan group. 

Fleets now sailed in quick succession from the various Dutch 
ports, whose merchants vied with each other in their efforts to 
secure a share in the new trade. In 1598 a number of expeditions 
sailed under different commanders. The merchants of Amsterdam 
and Rotterdam despatched a fleet of eight ships under J. van Neck 
and W. van Warwijck, which reached Banda, Amboina, and the 
Moluccas, besides visiting Java. A part of the fleet, including 
van Warwijck's vessel, touched on the voyage at Mauritius, which 
then first received that name. No inhabitants were seen, but the 
island proved a convenient halting-place, and a garden was fenced 
in and planted for the benefit of future voyagers. The merchants 
of Middelburg and Veere, headed by the family of the Moucherons, 
fitted out two ships (the Lion and Lioness), which they placed 
under the command of the brothers Cornells and Frederik Hout- 
man. This expedition is of interest from the fact that the great 
Arctic navigator, John Davis, was engaged to act as chief pilot, and 
the account of the voyage written by him is the only one extant. 

^ The avoidance of the south coast of Java is attributed by the Portuguese 
historian Joao de Barros to the violent currents to which ships are there 
exposed. This fact accounts for the exaggerated notions which had prevailed 
as to the extent of the island. The sea south of Java had been traversed, out 
of sight of land, by the remnant of Magellan's expedition, which steered for 
the Cape of Good Hope from the west end of Timor. According to Hondius's 
map, both Drake and Cavendish traversed the same sea, passing between Java 
and Bali, and this is confirmed by the accounts received by Houtman of the 
arrival of European ships at the south-east end of Java at dates corresponding 
to those of Drake's and Cavendish's voyages. 

H. 4 


Ill-luck attended the expedition, which reached Atjeh in Sumatra 
after touching at Fernando Noronha, Table Bay (then called 
Saldanha Bay), Madagascar, the Comoros, Maldivhs, and the coast 
of India near Cochin. Davis's narrative contains interesting 
particulars respecting the countries visited, mentioning among other 
points the peculiar clicking sounds of the Hottentot language, 
which are likened to the clucking of a brood-hen. It appears that 
the fame of Queen Elizabeth as the successful rival of Spain had 
already reached the East, and the Raja of Atjeh was particularly 
anxious to see Davis and to learn about the English nation, but the 
Dutch commander did all he could to keep him in the background. 
During the stay there a treacherous attack was made upon the 
expedition, during which Cornells Houtman was killed and the 
ship only saved by the gallantry of Davis and two comrades, one of 
them an Englishman named Tomkins, who successfully defended 
the poop'. After a vain attempt to make the port of Tennasserim, 
which Davis speaks of as a place of much trade, a course was 
shaped for the Nicobars and the homeward voyage soon afterwards 
commenced. In July 1600 Middelburg was reached and Davis 
returned to England, where his services were soon secured by the 
English East India Company for their first voyage. 

During the year 1598 various Dutch ships were also sent out 
to attempt the passage to India via the Strait of Magellan. On 
June 27 a fleet of five ships set sail from Rotterdam under the 
command of Admiral James Mahu. Several Englishmen accom- 
panied the fleet — among them the pilot, William Adams. From 
the outset the expedition was unfortunate, for soon after leaving 
the Cape Verde Islands the Admiral died of fever, by which a 
large proportion of the crews were disabled, while scurvy soon 
added to their distress. A landing was effected on the coast 
of Lower Guinea and a camp formed for the sick ; but few sup- 
plies were available and the fleet sailed for Annobom. Here the 
Dutch came into collision with the Portuguese and also suffered 
severely from fever, so it was resolved to steer for the Strait of 
Magellan. Here the ships encountered very severe weather and, 

1 There appears to be no foundation for the story that the elder Houtman 
escaped with his life and lived some years among the natives. 

II] THE EAST INDIES, 160O-I70O '5 1 

after reaching the Pacific, soon became scattered. Two were 
forced to re-enter the straits, and of these one eventually crossed 
the Pacific to the Moluccas, where she fell into the hands of the 
Portuguese. The other, under Sebald de Weert, fell in with the 
outward-bound fleet of Olivier van Noort, but returned home after 
visiting some small islands, probably outliers of the Falklands. 
A single unsupported document has it that a third ship — that 
commanded by Dirck Gerritsz — was driven south to 64°, where a 
snow-clad mountainous land was sighted ; and on this insufficient 
basis some have claimed for her commander the discovery of the 
South Shetlands. This ship was taken by the Spaniards after 
reaching Peru. 

Meanwhile the rest of the fleet, under the command of Simon 
de Cordes, and with the English pilot, William Adams, on board, 
proceeded up the coast of Chile. No full account of the voyage 
is in existence, but we are able to gather some details as to its 
occurrences from the letters of Adams, written some years later 
from Japan, and from the facts gleaned by Van Noort's squadron. 
Misfortune still attended the voyagers. Landing at the island of 
La Mocha, de Cordes and a number of his men were slain by 
the natives', while the same fate befel the other captain and a 
portion of his crew at Punta de Lavapie, opposite Santa Maria 
Island. Not venturing to meet the Spaniards in their weakened 
condition, and having on board a large supply of woollen cloth 
which they hoped to dispose of in Japan, the newly elected 
captains resolved to steer for that country (November 1599)- 
After crossing the Line some islands were met with, inhabited 
by cannibals. They are placed by Adams in 16° N., or three 
degrees south of the Sandwich group, which might otherwise 
seem to be indicated. They were no doubt units of the Ladrone 
or Marianne group, though in this case the length of time 
occupied by the further voyage to Japan — almost equal to that 
taken up by the voyage from Chile to the islands — is only 
to be accounted for by the storms encountered in the Western 
Pacific. These led to a parting of the ships, and only that in 

' In the account given to Van Noort it was said that Simon de Cordes was 
slain at the Punta de Lavapie, but Adams gives Mocha Island as the scene of 
his death. 


which Adams sailed reached Bungo (the modern Oita) in Japan, 
the crew being then at the last extremity. Adams was im- 
prisoned for a time, but afterwards rose high in the Emperor's 
favour, and was largely instrumental in throwing open the trade 
with Japan to the Dutch. He was never allowed to return to 
Europe, but died at Firando (Hirado Island) about 1620. 

The four ships of Van Noort already alluded to sailed from 
Goeree only three months after the Rotterdam fleet (September 
1598). Like the latter they touched at the coast of Lower Guinea 
and then twice visited the coast of Brazil before proceeding to the 
Strait of Magellan. Arrived in the South Sea, Van Noort was 
attended with better success than his predecessors, taking a 
Spanish ship on the coast of Chile, and then crossing over to the 
Ladrones and PhiHppines by a route apparently diverging little 
from Magellan's. Off the Philippines a Spanish ship was defeated 
after a hot encounter, and a course was then shaped for Borneo, 
where a halt was made at Brunei. Van Noort then pro- 
ceeded to the north coast of Java, and passing through the 
strait between that island and Sumatra, steered for the Cape of 
Good Hope. He arrived in Holland with one ship on August 26, 
1 60 1, being thus the first Dutch captain to complete the circum- 
navigation of the globe — a feat which it had taken full three years, 
to accomplish. Although Van Noort had not passed out of the 
tracks of previous navigators, his voyage was of service to his 
countrymen, as much information was collected about countries of 
the East, including Japan, not visited by his squadron. 

The subsequent trading voyages of the Dutch to the East,, 
while of importance as tending to establish the supremacy of that 
nation in the Archipelago, and so paving the way for the discovery 
of Australia, lack the interest of novelty which attaches to their 
earlier efforts. In pursuance of their object the merchant adven- 
turers showed no abatement of energy. Trading companies had 
been formed at the various Dutch ports, whence fleet after fleet 
was despatched to the East. In 1602 the various companies 
were united to form the Dutch East India Company, with an 
exclusive charter prohibiting other Dutch subjects from trading to 
the East, either by the Cape or by the Strait of Magellan. The 
company's fleets engaged in open hostilities with the Portuguese, 


while trading stations were rapidly established in Java and Ceylon, 
as well as on the Malabar and Coromandel coasts. By 1607 the 
Dutch had gained possession of the Spice Islands and had factories 
in all the countries of the East from Persia to Japan. In 1611 
Pieter Both, the first Governor-General, established a post at 
Jacatra in Java, some distance east of Bantam, giving it the 
name Batavia ; and in 16 19 the Residence was transferred by 
the fourth governor, Jans Pieterszoon Coen, to this site, which 
thenceforth became the capital of the Dutch possessions. Some 
of the voyages thus undertaken were of interest from the point 
of view of geographical discovery, but before speaking of them 
we must resume the thread of English adventure. 

In spite of the ill-success of the first English voyage to the 
East, the wish to establish a direct trade with India still animated 
the English merchants, but nothing was done until 1599 when, 
the Dutch having raised the price of pepper from 35. to 6s. and Ss. 
a pound, a memorial was addressed to Queen Elizabeth on the sub- 
ject of the formation of an association for the object in view. The 
Queen favoured the proposal, and on December 31, 1600, granted 
a charter of incorporation to the English East India Company as 
" The Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading 
into the East Indies." She also sent Sir J. Mildenhall to the court 
of the Great Mogul to solicit his favour for the company. Before 
the signing of the charter preparations for an expedition had been 
pushed forward. Captain James Lancaster being again placed at 
its head. Four "tall" ships — the Dragon, Hector, Ascension, and 
Susan, besides a victualler, the Guest — were employed. As before 
mentioned, the services of John Davis were secured for the 
expedition, which left Woolwich on February 13, and Tor Bay 
on April 18, 1601. After touching at the Canaries and suffering 
much from scurvy and from adverse winds during the passage 
across the Atlantic, it put in at Saldanha Bay (Table Bay) on 
September 9. The great use of lemon-juice as a preventive of 
scurvy was fully demonstrated on this voyage, as the crew of 
Lancaster's ship, who were provided with it, suffered far less than 
those of the others. After a stay at Table Bay, and another on 
the coast of Madagascar, the ships set sail for India on March 6, 
1602, and fell in with an island called Roquepiz, the identification 


of which .is a matter of some difficulty. Then, after passing 
amongst the Chagos Islands and banks, where the ships were in 
much danger from sunken reefs, the Nicobar Islands were reached 
on May 9, and Atjeh on May 29. A letter from the Queen was 
presented to the King of Atjeh, who gave the voyagers a cordial 
reception. Some pepper was obtained, but owing to the bad 
season it was very scarce. More, however, was obtained at 
Priaman, and at Bantam, whither the ships afterwards proceeded, 
having first taken a merchant ship, saiUng under Portuguese 
colours, in the straits of Malacca. Agents were left at Bantam 
and others despatched to the Moluccas, to establish a factory 
there in readiness for the next arrival of ships from England. On 
February 20, 1603, the homeward voyage commenced, the ships 
passing through the Sunda Strait. Before rounding the Cape 
great storms were encountered, in which the rudder of Lancaster's 
ship was lost, and the voyagers were driven southwards into the 
hail and snow of the South Atlantic ; but after great exertions a 
temporary rudder was arranged, and St Helena sighted on June 16, 
the ships having been three months out of sight of land. Finally 
they anchored in the Downs on September u, and the voyage 
was brought to a successful termination, two and a half years 
from its commencement. 

The second expedition was placed under the command of 
Captain Henry Middleton, who had accompanied Lancaster in 
1 60 1, and the same four ships were again sent out. Again the 
crews suffered severely froili scurvy, and on this account the 
General put in, contrary to his instructions, at Table Bay, after- 
wards crossing the Indian Ocean without touching anywhere until 
the island of Engano, off the south coast of Sumatra, was sighted. 
From Bantam, where the merchants left on the preceding voyage, 
were established, the Hector and Susan were sent home after 
loading with a cargo of pepper, while Middleton proceeded (Jan. 
1605) with the other two ships to the more eastern parts of the 
Archipelago. During this time great mortahty prevailed among 
the crews owing to an outbreak of dysentery brought on by 
drinking the Bantam water. A large Dutch fleet under Van der 
Hagen had arrived at Bantam two days before the English, and it 
soon followed them on their eastward voyage. At Amboina, 


where, owing to the peace lately concluded (1604) between 
England and Spain, Middleton had established friendly relations 
with the Portuguese governor, all hope of trade was removed by 
the arrival of this fleet and the surrender of the Portuguese fort. 
Middleton therefore resolved, much against the views of his 
associates, to send the Ascension to Banda, while he himself pro- 
ceeded to the Moluccas proper, to try for a cargo of cloves. Here 
too the arrival of the Dutch, followed by the destruction of the 
Portuguese fort at Tidor, and the surrender of the survivors of 
its garrison, put many difficulties in his way, but a certain amount 
of trade was done, and in spite of some rather high-handed pro- 
ceedings on the part of the Dutch, the English commander was 
able to remain on fairly friendly terms with both factions. On 
the return voyage the Hector was found in a disabled condition off 
the Cape, having lost the greater part of her crew, which it had 
been necessary to reinforce with a number of Chinamen before 
leaving Bantam. The Susan had been lost during the passage. 
The three remaining ships continued the voyage in company, and 
reached the Downs on May 6, 1606. 

By opening a trade with the Moluccas, which had not been 
visited by Englishmen since Drake's time, Middleton had done more 
than the company had ventured to expect, and he was knighted 
for his services immediately on his return. The company now de- 
termined to extend their operations, and turned their eyes to the 
mainland of India, whither one of the ships of the next voyage was 
commissioned to proceed. The three vessels sent out in 1607 were 
under the command of Captain Keeling, who had accompanied 
Sir Henry Middleton in 1604. In the new voyage he sailed in 
the Dragon, while the Hector and Consent were commanded 
respectively by Captains Hawkins and David Middleton, the 
latter of whom, as it turned out, made the voyage independently. 
The course taken by the Dragon and Hector differed from that 
followed in previous voyages, for they put in at Sierra Leone for 
the purpose of watering, and here a stone was set up, engraved 
with the names of Captains KeeUng and Hawkins, near another, 
which bore the names of Drake and Cavendish. After refreshing 
at Saldanha, and again touching at St Augustine's Bay, Madagas- 
car, they proceeded to Abd-el-Kuri and Sokotra, where valuable 


information was collected as to the system of the monsoons and 
currents, and the navigation to Aden, Surat, and Cambay. After 
leaving Sokotra, the ships parted company, the Hector proceeding 
to Surat, whence Hawkins sent his ship on to Bantam, and travelled 
overland to the court of Jehangir; his journey resulting in the 
acquisition of information, of much value to the company, regarding 
the state of affairs in India. Keeling proceeded to Priaman and 
Bantam, and afterwards to Banda ; some useful hydrographical 
observations being made during the voyage. Trade was again 
hampered by the arbitrary proceedings of the Dutch, who were 
then at war with the natives. Since Middleton's voyage they had 
been driven out of Ternate and Tidor (1606), and their admiral, 
Paul van Caerden, was in 1608 taken prisoner there, remaining 
in captivity over a year. 

The fourth voyage, under Captains Sharpeigh and Rowles, was 
unfortunate. After visiting Aden, and Mokha on the Red Sea, 
Sharpeigh proceeded to India, where his ship was wrecked in the 
Gulf of Cambay. Sharpeigh visited Agra, while others of his crew 
travelled in various directions, a sailor named Nichols making 
his way across the peninsula to Masulipatam, while Captain 
Robert Coverte returned to Europe through India, Persia, and 
Turkey. The latter wrote an account both of the voyage and of 
his own travels. The fifth voyage sent out by the East India 
Company was under the command of Captain David Middleton, 
who in 1610 obtained a cargo of spice at Pulo Way, being, hke 
KeeUng, hindered by the Dutch from loading at Banda. In the 
sixth voyage Sir Henry Middleton was general, the second in 
command being Captain Nicholas Downton. The ships proceeded 
to Aden, which was found to have lost much of its former import- 
ance, and to Mokha, where Middleton was made a prisoner, and 
taken inland to Sana. Having at length effected his escape, he 
sailed for Surat, where many impediments were put in his way by 
the Portuguese. Subsequently reaching the Archipelago, his ship, 
the Trades Increase, the largest English merchant vessel of the time, 
capsized while being repaired, and Middleton soon afterwards died 
of grief at the partial failure of the voyage. It was, however, im- 
portant as leading the way to the English intercourse with Western 
India, which subsequently attained such great proportions. 


Of the subsequent voyages only those can be spoken of which 
were especially noteworthy as leading in new directions. During 
the seventh, which sailed in 161 1 under Captain Hippon, the 
Globe visited the Coromandel coast and Siam, where factories 
were established both at Patani — then an important trade centre — 
and at Ayuthia, the capital. Two of the factors were even sent 
inland to Chieng-mai or Zimme, which had been visited in the 
previous century by Fernao Mende?; Pinto and by Ralph Fitch, 
and which has come into prominence in modern times in con- 
nection with railway projects in Siam. One of these agents, 
Thomas Samuel, was a year or two later (1615) taken prisoner 
to Pegu on the capture of Chieng-mai by the king of that country, 
and died there. 

The eighth voyage (1611-13), under Captain John Saris in 
the Clove, was important as leading further afield than any of the 
previous ventures, Japan being for the first time reached by an 
English vessel. After visiting Sokotra and cruising for some time 
in the Red Sea, where Saris met Sir Henry Middleton, the Clove 
sailed for Bantam, and thence for the Moluccas, where, after 
touching at various points, anchor was finally cast in the road of 
Pelebere (or Poliweri) off Makian. Here, as usual, some opposi- 
tion was met with from the Dutch, who at the time had forts on 
Ternate, Tidor, and Makian, though the Spaniards still main- 
tained a footing in Tidor. Continuing his voyage towards the north, 
and touching to refresh on the northern portion of Jilolo, Saris 
set sail for Japan, and passing among the Liu-kiu Islands, reached 
Firando ( Hirado) after a month's voyage. Here Saris received a 
visit from William Adams, and leaving Richard Cocks, the principal 
merchant of the voyage, to estabUsh a factory, proceeded vi& 
Osaka and the overland route to Yedo (Tokio) to hand over the 
pifesents sent by the Company to the Emperor. His journal gives 
interesting particulars respecting the Japanese cities, of which 
Kioto or Miako was then the largest. On Saris's departure Cocks 
was left at Firando to superintend the factory, which he did for 
seven years. During this time the establishment of trade between 
Japan and Siam was kept constantly in view, and Adams more 
than once sailed for the latter country, but the efforts of the 
merchants met with slight success. Saris's voyage resulted in 


a considerable improvement in the knowledge of the navigation 
of the Eastern seas, and his journal contains instructive remarks 
on the currents, monsoons, etc., as observed by him. He was 
able to introduce many corrections into the charts, his latitudes 
for Cape Comorin, the island of Batjan, and other places, being 
nearer the truth than those previously accepted. Between Sokotra 
and Bantam he sailed through the 8° channel between the Mal- 
divhs and Minicoy, and was thus able to define correctly the 
termination of the Maldivh group towards the north, while Firando 
in Japan, the terminus of his voyage, is given within 8' of its true 

The only other voyage to which separate allusion can be made 
is that of Captain Best, which was begun in 16 12, and by the 
victory gained over an overwhelming Portuguese fleet at Swally, 
the port of Surat, opened up Western India to British enterprise. 
A result of this victory was the despatch of Sir Thomas Roe, in 
1615, as ambassador to Jehangir. To his travels reference will 
be made presently. A few years later trade was opened with the 
Persian Gulf, but Bantam in Java still remained the Company's 
principal factory in the East, until, between 1618 and 1623, the 
British merchants were expelled from all their posts in the 
Archipelago by the Dutch, who thus became supreme in that 
quarter, and were for a long time practically alone in carrying on 
the work of exploration in the regions beyond. 

It remains to speak of the attempts — insignificant compared 
with those of the Dutch and English — made by the French at 
this time to open up intercourse with the East. Although this 
nation was the first to encroach upon the grounds occupied by 
the Portuguese, the early enterprises of Gonneville, Parmentier, 
and others, in the first half of the sixteenth century, led to no 
practical result, and not till the next century had commenced did 
the French merchants again bestir themselves to secure a share 
in the eastern trade. A company was then formed by some 
citizens of St Malo, Laval, and Vitre, and two vessels were fitted 
out and placed under the command of Michel Frotet de la 
Bardelifere, who sailed in the Croissafit. The other ship, the 
Corbin, was commanded by Francois Grout, and an Englishman 

II] THE EAST INDIES, 160O-170O 59 

was included among the crew as pilot. The expedition sailed in 
1 601, but was unfortunate from the first owing to severe attacks 
of scurvy and want of discipline. The Croissant reached Atjeh 
in July 1602, but left again without doing much trade. The 
General died on December i, and after reaching the Azores the 
enfeebled remnant of the crew were rescued from their sinking 
ship by some Dutch vessels. The voyage is principally re- 
markable for the adventures of Frangois Pyrard, who sailed in 
the Corbin, and after his return wrote a full account of his 
experiences, together with valuable information on the countries 
visited. The Corbin was wrecked on one of the Maldivhs, 
and the crew made prisoners. Pyrard soon acquired the lan- 
guage and gained favour with the king, but had not obtained 
leave to depart when at length, after five yearsj a hostile ex- 
pedition arrived from Chittagong. The king was slain, and 
Pyrard with three companions, the sole remnant of the crew, 
was taken to India. He gives a most valuable account of the 
Maldivhs, and of the manners and customs of the people ; and so 
few have been European visitors to the islands that this re- 
mained practically the standard authority on the subject down 
to our own times. 

Pyrard's stay at Chittagong was brief, but it enabled him to 
collect a few particulars respecting Bengal and its productions, 
the river Ganges, etc. On the Malabar coast, whither he then 
proceeded, he went through many adventures and was for some 
time kept a prisoner by the Portuguese. After his release he 
collected much information respecting Western India and its 
inhabitants, and particularly about Goa and the Portuguese 
government in India — then hopelessly corrupt — and the growing 
encroachments of the Dutch. His account is of special value 
from the fact that this period is little touched upon by Portuguese 
historians. He accompanied Portuguese expeditions to Cambay 
and the Moluccas, and gives a full account of the trade of south- 
eastern Asia, which still centred in the great emporium of 
Malacca; describing also the Portuguese possessions on the 
African coasts. At last, in the winter of 1609-10, Pyrard, with 
other foreigners, whose numbers had become inconvenient to the 
authorities, was placed on board the homeward-bound fleet, and 


reached Europe, not without further adventures, after an absence 
of ten years. The ship in which Pyrard sailed was wrecked on 
the coast of Brazil, and his sojourn at Bahia, whilst waiting for 
an opportunity to return to Europe, gave him the means of 
gathering some information on the Portuguese possessions in 
that part of the globe. 

Two other French travellers, mentioned by Pyrard in his 
book, may be briefly referred to here. Jean Mocquet, apothecary 
to Henry IV of France, travelled extensively both in the East and 
West (West Africa, Guiana, Morocco, India, and the Holy Land) 
between 1601 and 161 1 — exactly the period occupied by Pyrard's 
voyage — and in 16 17 published in Paris an account of his travels. 
He had sailed to Goa as apothecary to the Conde de Feira, and 
returned in that capacity, in the same fleet as Pyrard, with the 
great captain Furtado de Mendoga. The other traveller was the 
Sieur de Feynes, Comte de Montfart, who in 1604 had reached 
Goa by the overland route via Aleppo, Isfahan, and Ormuz. 
The first account of his journeys was published in English in 
1615 by a French resident in London. Doubt has been thrown 
on the genuineness of his travels, but the references of Pyrard 
and Mocquet confirm the general truth of his account. 

No further attempt to open up trade with the East was made 
until 1 616, when some merchants of Paris and Rouen formed 
a company and fitted out two ships for a voyage to India. The 
command was given to a captain named De Nets, the smaller 
ship sailing under Augustin de Beaulieu, who had already in 
1 61 2 accompanied a French expedition to the Gambia, and had 
shown himself a skilful seaman. The expedition met with only 
partial success, one of the ships being abandoned for want of 
suflScient hands. In 16 19 Beaulieu sailed again with three ships, 
and though the results from a commercial point of view were not 
great, the voyage has attained a considerable degree of celebrity 
by reason of the careful observations on the countries visited 
made by the commander, and contained in his journal, published 
in Thevenot's celebrated collection of voyages. The variation of 
the compass engaged the special attention of Beaulieu, who was 
able to show that the variations were less regular than had been 
supposed. An accurate description is given of the narwhal, two 


of which were seen on the voyage. Some time was spent at the 
Cape on the way out, and an interesting reconnaissance made 
of the district behind Table Mountain. The modern Table 
Bay already receives that name in Beaulieu's narrative, although 
the old name Saldanha Bay is retained by contemporary, and 
even by some subsequent writers. During a stay of 15 days at 
St Augustine's Bay, Madagascar, Beaulieu attempted an ex- 
ploration of the valley of the river which enters the head of the 
bay ; and though hindered by the thickness of the brushwood, he 
climbed to a certain height and assured himself of the importance 
of the river, which, he says, seemed as broad as the Seine a 
league below Rouen. This must have been the Onilahi, the 
principal river of south Madagascar. After correcting the position 
on the chart of the Angoche and other small islands on the African 
coast, Beaulieu sailed for the Comoro Islands, of which he gives 
a fuller account than is found in most of the early narratives. 
This is especially the case of Angasija, or Great Comoro, which 
on account of its want of good anchorages has down to the 
present day been less visited than the other islands of the group. 
Having at length reached Sumatra, a long time was spent at 
Atjeh in wearisome negotiations for a cargo of pepper, Bantam 
being inaccessible owing to its investment by the Dutch. One 
of the ships, which had proceeded to Jacatra (Batavia), was burnt, 
apparently through Dutch treachery, but Beaulieu at length set 
sail for France with a fair cargo, passing through the Mentawei 
(" Montabay ") Islands off the south-west coast of Sumatra, and 
introducing some corrections into the charts of that locality. He 
reached France in December, 1622. 

Before continuing the story of maritime discovery in the far 
East, we may close this chapter by referring to some of the most 
famous travellers to southern Asia — chiefly by the overland route 
— during the seventeenth century, although by so doing it will be 
necessary to anticipate somewhat the progress of events in other 
quarters. With the opening of maritime trade to the East by the 
rivals of the Portuguese, the love of adventure led a host of 
travellers — Dutch, French, English, and German, as well as some 
of nationalities previously represented — to visit the famous empires 

62 THE 1EAST INDIES,' 1 660-1700 [CHAP. 

of those regions; and as many of them published narratives of 
their journeys, the result was a decided spread of knowledge 
respecting those countries, although strictly geographical dis- 
coveries could hardly be expected. 

Of all the narratives of eastern travel which appeared during 
the seventeenth century, the first in point of date of the journeys 
was that of the French adventurer Vincent le Blanc, who during 
forty years ranged over most of the eastern world, from Syria, 
Arabia, and Samarkand, to Pegu, Siam, and Java, and in Africa 
gained acquaintance with Abyssinia, Egypt, and Morocco. But 
the greater part of his journeys were made before the end of the 
sixteenth century, while his narrative — first published, after his 
death, in 1648 — shows much ignorance and want of discrimina- 
tion, even if it be not — as some have thought — largely fictitious. 
A Portuguese traveller, Pedro Teixeira, whose wanderings were 
almost as extensive, published his narrative in 1610, but he too 
started on his travels before the end of the previous century. Of 
his first journey nothing is known except that after residing for 
some time in Persia and Ormuz, he found himself at Malacca 
in 1600, and returned to Portugal by way of the Archipelago 
(Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines) and Mexico. He set out 
again in 1604, and after visiting Maskat and Ormuz returned by 
Baghdad to Aleppo, and thence through Cyprus, Rhodes, etc., to 
Venice, and ultimately to Antwerp. The desire of seeing foreign 
countries led an eccentric Englishman, Thomas Coryat, to the 
East a few years later. Coryat had held a small post in Prince 
Henry's establishment, but in 1608 started on a tour through 
Europe, which he described in a book bearing the quaint title 
Coryat his Crudities hastily gobled up etc. In spite of the 
eccentricities of the author, this was of some real value as one 
of the first detailed descriptions of European countries pubUshed 
in England. In 1612 Coryat started on more extended travels, 
which took him through Asia Minor, the Holy Land, and Meso- 
potamia, to Persia and even to Kandahar, whence he reached 
India in 16 16. Here he died the following year, and therefore 
never wrote a narrative of these journeys, but some of his letters 
to friends from the East were published, the last being dated 
from Agra, October, 1616. 

II] THE EAST INDIES, 160O-170O 63 

Disappointment in a love affair was the cause of the travels, 
about the same time, of an Italian, Pietro della Valle, who in 
1614 left Venice on a pilgrimage to the holy places of the East, 
taking the title "II Pellegrino" by which he was afterwards 
generally known. From Jerusalem he went by Damascus to 
Aleppo, and on to Baghdad and the ruins of Babylon. At 
Baghdad he married a beautiful Circassian, who accompanied him 
on his travels till her death, and whose body was embalmed and 
taken to Italy. Della Valle made his way to the court of the 
Persian Emperor, and in 162 1, after a visit to the ruins of 
Persepolis, reached Shiraz, and Lar on the Persian Gulf, whence 
he made his way to India. After extensive travels in that 
country he sailed for Maskat in 1624, and returned to Europe 
vid, Bassora and Aleppo. His voyages, the publication of which 
was completed at Rome after his death in 1652, contain many 
interesting particulars concerning the countries through which he 

The above were private adventurers, but others of the number 
held more or less official positions as envoys to the courts of 
Eastern monarchs. Such was Sir Thomas Roe, whose embassy 
to the court of the Great Mogul in the interests of British trade 
has already been referred to. Roe, who had previously made 
a voyage up the Amazon and on the coast of Guiana, was one of 
the most capable agents employed by the East India Company. 
He arrived at Swally Road in September, 1615, and after much 
obstruction on the part of the authorities, made his way to the 
court of Jehangir at Ajmere before the end of the year, passing 
through Burhanpur, where he suffered a severe attack of fever. 
He spent nearly three years in wearisome negociations with the 
Emperor and his ministers, and his journal, first published by 
Purchas, contains, besides the narrative of his journey, much 
valuable information as to the events then going forward in India. 
During Roe's residence in India, Edward Terry, an Oxford 
graduate — who had sailed in 16 16 in one of the East India 
Company's fleets, and who, after his return to Europe, also wrote 
an account of his experiences — joined him as chaplain. Another 
of the Company's servants who travelled in India at this time 
was William Methold, who in 1622 visited the diamond mines of 


Golconda, and gave the first account of them ever published by 
an English writer. 

Persia, too, was the goal of various embassies during the early- 
part of the seventeenth century. In 1599 Sir Anthony Shirley, 

Sir Thomas Roe. 

a relative by marriage of the Earl of Essex, had received from 
the latter an informal mission to that country, whither he 
proceeded with his brother Robeit by the overland route via 
Aleppo so often followed at this time. Sir Anthony soon re- 
turned to Europe, where (having fallen into disfavour in England) 


he wandered from one court to another, sometimes well received 
but finally discredited^. Robert (afterwards Sir Robert) Shirley 
stayed longer in Persia, and subsequently undertook various 
embassies, on behalf of the Shah, to the countries of Europe, 
including Great Britain, where he was well received by James I, 
He returned to Persia for the last time in 1627 in company with 
the English agent Sir Dodmore Cotton, but was coldly received 
on his arrival at Kasvin, and died shortly afterwards. Cotton 
had another companion on his mission to Persia, whose account 
of his travels attained considerable celebrity. This was Sir 
Thomas Herbert, who after reaching Kasvin (where Cotton too 
died), made extensive journeys in Persia, afterwards visiting India 
and Ceylon, whence he returned to Europe in 1627, by 
Mauritius and St Helena. His narrative contains many curious 
observations on the countries visited, and the objects of interest 
observed. Among the latter was the dodo, Herbert's quaint 
account of which is one of the earliest we possess. 

The next embassy to Persia which need detain us was that 
sent through Russia by the Duke of Holstein in 1633, with a 
view to opening up a trade with the East for his subjects. The 
secretary to the ambassadors was the celebrated Adam Olearius, 
while another of the party was J. A. de Mandelslo, an intimate 
friend of the former and previously page to the Duke. The 
ambassadors proceeded no further than Persia, but Mandelslo, 
who had obtained leave to go on to India, embarked at Ormuz 
in 1638, and landing at Surat, travelled first to Agra, and 
afterwards made the voyage to Goa and Ceylon, returning to 
Europe by the Cape. The account of his journeys was published 
after his death (1644), from his letters, by Olearius, as a 
supplement to the latter's own description of Russia and Persia. 
It contained information collected by Mandelslo respecting 
countries of the East not visited by him personally, and in 
a subsequent edition was enlarged by the addition of extraneous 
matter. Both Olearius and Mandelslo were men of education, 
and made astronomical observations during their journeys. 

1 The Emperor Rudolf II, by whom he was well received at Prague, 
despatched him in 1605 on a mission to the court of Morocco, an account 
of which appeared in 1609. 

H. S 


In the second half of the century a Russian embassy to Persia 
was accompanied by a Spaniard, Don Pedro Cubero, who 
hkewise visited India but returned to Europe by the PhiHppines 
and Mexico, pubHshing an account of his nine years' travels at 
Madrid in 1680. The Swedish embassy to the same country 
in 1683, under Louis Fabricius, may also be mentioned here. 
It is noteworthy through the part taken in it by the cele- 
brated traveller Engelbrecht Kaempfer, a German physician 
and naturalist, who after crossing Persia to Gombrun joined 
a Dutch fleet as surgeon (1688), visited north and south India 
and Batavia, and thence went to Japan, where he remained three 
years, collecting valuable- material for an account of that country. 
After his return to Europe in 1693 he published an account of 
his travels under the title Amoenitates Exoticae, which ap- 
peared in 17 1 2. His history of Japan, the best known of his 
works, was published, after his death, from his MSS. 

The work of missionary travellers to the far East will be 
spoken of in another chapter, but the journeys of one of their 
number, as concerned also with western Asia, may be suitably 
touched upon here. Pere Alexandre de Rhodes, a French 
Jesuit, started for the Indies in 16 18, and a few years later was 
sent to labour in Cochin China. Here and in Tongking he 
maintained an uphill fight for many years against difficulties and 
persecutions, until finally obliged to abandon the country. After 
visiting the Archipelago he returned to Europe through Persia, 
Armenia, and Asia Minor, returning in 1660 to Persia, where he 
died. He published an account of his travels in 1653. 

As time went on, travellers to the East became more and 
more numerous, and only the most famous can be briefly 
mentioned. Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the son of a Dutch map- 
seller settled in Paris, began his extensive travels by visiting most 
of the countries of Europe, and in 1631 joined a caravan to 
Persia, where his trading ventures met with such success that he 
devoted himself for the future to eastern commerce, buying 
diamonds and other precious stones to dispose of in Europe. 
After various journeys he fell ill on the Volga and died at 
Moscow in 1689. His Voyages, published in Paris in 1677-79, 
are a valuable authority on the trade and trade-routes of the 


East at the time, and especially on the diamond and other mines 
of India. Another famous French traveller, Francois Bernier, 
started for the East in 1654, and after visiting Syria and Egypt 
made his way to India, where he resided some years as physician 
to Aurungzeb. His accounts of the political affairs of the Mogul 
empire, first published in 1670-71, give a valuable insight into 
the events of the time, while his description of Kashmir, which 
he visited himself, is the earliest, in any detail, that we possess. 

Jean de Thdvenot, nephew of the celebrated collector of 
travels, Melchisedek Thdvenot (himself, too, a traveller of some 
note), made two extensive tours in the East, and died at Tauris in 
1667 on his final return from India through Persia. His travels 
were afterwards published at Paris in 1684. Sir John Chardin, 
who, like Tavernier, was interested in the diamond trade, was the 
son of a Paris jeweller. During two separate visits to the East, 
he resided many years in Persia, and paid some attention to its 
antiquities and history. He was knighted by Charles II during 
a residence in London, where he commenced the publication 
of his memoirs in 1686. The list may be closed with the 
name of Dr John Fryer, a Cambridge graduate, who between 
1672 and 1682 travelled through India and Persia in the interests 
of the East India Company, and wrote a New account of East 
India and Persia (1698), one of the most readable descriptions 
of India in the seventeenth century that we have. 

A word or two must be devoted in conclusion to European 
travellers in Further India during this period. The establishment 
of English trade in Siam has already been spoken of. The Dutch 
too devoted some attention to that country as well as to the 
neighbouring kingdom of Cambodia, and their agents are said 
even to have made journeys into the Laos countries on the 
Mekong. After the early attempts of Pere de Rhodes to found 
a mission in Cochin China, these regions were the scene of much 
missionary enterprise on the part of the French Jesuits. Be- 
tween 1660 and 1662, three bishops in turn set out for Siam and 
the first and third of these, Mgr de la Mothe, bishop of Beirut, 
and Mgr Pallu, bishop of Persepolis, reached their destination in 
safety, taking the overland route to the Persian Gulf, crossing 
India to Masulipatam, and the Malay Peninsula near Tenasserim. 



The overland passage from the Bay of Bengal to Siam vi& 
Tenasserim, though involving many difficulties, was often used 
at the time — among others by the servants of the East India 
Company. It led up the Tenasserim river to Jelunga, whence it 
crossed the watershed and debouched near the north-west corner 
of the Gulf of Siam. An account of the journey of Mgr de la 
Mothe was written by his companion M. de Bourges in 1666 
while Pallu, who after returning to France went out again in 
1670-73, pubhshed an account of his own journeys in 1682. 
Other missionaries soon made their way to Siam, but French 
intercourse with the country was not kept up only by these, for 
various embassies were about this time exchanged between 
Louis XIV and the king of Siam. The first French mission was 
headed (1685) by the Chevalier de Chaumont, in whose company 
various ecclesiastics sailed, including the Jesuit Tachard, and five 
others of his order destined for China. Two accounts of the 
embassy were written, one by the Jesuit just mentioned. In. 
1687-88 another French embassy reached Siam under M. de la 
Loubere, whose account of the country, published in 1691, is the 
best that has come down to us from this period. M. Tachard 
made the voyage a second time with La Loubere, and again 
published an account of his experiences. After this second 
embassy, French interest in the affairs of Siam seems to have 

For the neighbouring countries on the east coast of Further 
India the various missionary reports, beginning with those of 
P^re de Rhodes, contain the best contemporary information.. 
Many of the later accounts of the Jesuits were included in the 
Lettres idifiantes et Curieuses of Legobien and Du Halde. 



^^fl^ have reserved for a separate chapter the continuation of 
oi^^^rative of Dutch voyages to the East, from the importance 
which attaches to them as finally setting at rest the question of 
the existence of a continental land to the south-east of Asia — the 
last great question of the kind to attain solution if we except the 
Antarctic problem, still but partially solved in our own day. The 
rapidly-narrowing limits of the unknown gave, in fact, little room 
for uncertainty as to the broad distribution of land and water on 
the globe, except just in the quarter where Australia was soon to 
be disclosed in its main outlines. We have already referred to the 
general belief in the existence of a Southern Continent, to which 
the discovery of the Strait of Magellan — apparently separating 
South America from another land-mass to the south — seemed to 
give confirmation, and which led all navigators who lighted upon 
new lands to the south to connect their discoveries with the same 
mysterious land. The old notion that Java formed the northern 
extremity of this supposed continent had not completely died out 
at the close of the sixteenth century^ in spite of the fact that 
Del Cano, Drake, and Cavendish had all passed to the southward 
of the island. As we have seen, the first Dutch Eastern voyage, 
under Houtman in 1595-96, finally set this doubt at rest as 
regarded Java, but it was not until many years later that the 
insular character of New Guinea was fully recognised, although 
the existence of a strait separating it from a larger land to the 
south had been surmised if not actually proved before the 

^ Thus Linschoten, whose great work was published in 1595-6, still 
expressed a doubt as to the insular character of Java. 


sixteenth century closed, as is seen from maps of Mercator, 
Hondius, Wytfliet and others. When therefore the Dutch 
applied themselves to southern discovery soon after their arrival 
in the East, a practically untouched field lay before them in the 
direction of Australia, for even conceding the possibility that its 
coasts had been sighted during the early part of the sixteenth 
century — and of this no satisfactory proof exists — there is no 
doubt that geographers generally, and those of Holland in par- 
ticular, were totally ignorant of any such discovery at the end of 
the same century. 

The point to which attention was first directed was New 
Guinea. On the despatch of a vessel, the Duifken or " Little 
Dove," in 1602 for the purpose of opening up trade with Ceram, 
the Dutch authorities in Banda had already in mind the ac- 
quisition of fuller knowledge respecting " Nova Guinea," and 
although little was then accomplished, more success attended the 
voyage of the Duifken in 1605^ The vessel, commanded by 
Willem Janszoon of Amsterdam, sailed from Bantam on 
November 28 of that year, bound for the eastern parts of the 
Archipelago. After touching at the Ke and Aru groups the 
Duifken appears to have reached the coast of New Guinea in 
Lat. 5° S. and to have followed the shores round Prince Frederick 
Henry Island as far as the beginning of Torres Strait. Then 
steering south the Dutch vessel traced the eastern shores of the 
Gulf of Carpentaria, as far as 13° 45' S., having thus — for the first 
time so far as record exists — sighted the coasts of Australia. 
The true nature of Torres Strait — owing no doubt to the islands 
with which it is strewn — was not recognised, but the whole of the 
land seen was supposed to form part of New Guinea. The 
greater part was uninhabited, but on one or more occasions 
natives were seen, who are described as wild and black savages. 
Nine of the crew were murdered by them while attempting to 

1 The instructions to Tasman for his voyage of 1644, which constitute one 
of the principal sources of information for previous Dutch voyages to New 
Guinea and Australia, have been called in to support the opinion that the 
Duifken sailed on this voyage in 1606. But from entries in Captain Saris's 
journal, published by Purchas, there is no doubt that 1605 was the year. 
Saris, using the old style, gives the date November 18. 


open up trade. The farthest point reached was named Cape 
Keerweer ("Turn-again"), while— as we learn from a map of 
Janssonius first published in 1633, which embodies the results of 
the voyage — other names were given to points touched at, Prince 
Frederick Henry Island and the opposite coast being laid down 
respectively as Tyuri and Modder Eylandt. Some doubt has 
been thrown on the statement that the Duifken reached the 
latitude mentioned, and the attempt has been made to prove 
that the ship did not even reach the entrance to Torres Strait. 
This is due to the fact that subsequent explorers placed a 
"Cape Keerweer" in the vicinity of Prince Frederick Henry 
Island; but as the instructions to Tasman make mention of 
a chart by the officers of the Duifken showing the Cape in 
13° 45' S., while we learn from the journal of a subsequent voyage 
(that of Carstenszoon in 1623) that the Duifken had at least been 
in 11° 48' S., the objection has little weight. 

The Duifken was back in Banda, as we learn from Saris, 
before June 15, 1606, and the priority of discovery thus un- 
doubtedly belongs to the Dutch as compared with the Spaniards 
under Torres, who, as we shall shortly see, was still in the New 
Hebrides towards the end of June of the same year. It has been 
supposed, but on hardly sufficient evidence, that a second voyage 
to New Guinea was made by the Duifken in 1606-7. 

We must now turn to the Spanish Expedition, which left 
Callao in Peru on December 21, 1605, under Pedro Fernandez de 
Quiros, and formed, it may be sajd, the closing episode of the 
great epoch of Spanish maritime discovery^. The expedition 
consisted of two ships and a launch, the second ship being 
commanded by Luis Vaez de Torres. Quiros had accompanied 
Alvaro de Mendana as pilot on his second expedition of 1595, 
during which, in the search for the Solomon Islands, -the Santa 
Cruz group had been reached. On this voyage his imagination 
had been fired by the idea of the great southern continent, which 
he imagined to lie in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz, and 
which he thought would offer a magnificent field for colonisation. 
This idea took so much hold of Quiros that he devoted the rest 

1 Although in the service of Spain, Quiros, like Magellan, was a Portu- 
guese by birth. His native place is said to have been Evora. 


of his life, though without success, to the task of discovering this 
land. Among his associates Quiros was regarded more or less as 
a visionary, and was besides unpopular as a Portuguese, a fact 
which must have greatly stood in the way of success. 

The object of the expedition of 1605-6 was the colonisation 
of Santa Cruz as well as the search for the great southern land. 
By the help of the various accounts which have come down to 
us^ — which are in many ways fuller than those of other early 
Pacific voyages — we are able to trace with some precision the 
course followed, which brought the voyagers in view of many 
more islands than had been seen in most previous voyages. For 
800 leagues Quiros steered S.W. by W., but on reaching the 
latitude of 26° began, contrary to the advice of Torres, to reduce 
his latitude, and thus appears to have passed through the centre 
of the Low Archipelago. The islets seen were for the most part 
uninhabited, and afforded no anchorage. On February 10, 
however, in about i8°io' S., a "flat island with a point to the 
south-east full of palm trees " was found to be inhabited, and the 
people proved friendly, though timid. Two days later the ships 
ran along an island described by De Leza as sunk in the middle 
like a piece of sea surrounded by land. It was 25 leagues long 
and six broad, and lay in 16° 30' S. This latitude is that of the 
typical atoll Fakarava, with which the description is in striking 
agreement, though from the length assigned to it it is possible that 
other atolls running in the same general direction were included 
in the estimate^. Still making northing, the ships reached Lat. 
10° 45', and for more than a month the directioq varied httle from 
west, the ships passing north of Samoa and the Fiji group. The 
crew of Quiros's vessel were now inclined to mutiny, and the 
failure to take prompt measures seems to have ultimately led to 
the partial failure of the enterprise. Another inhabited island 
was passed, and in the endeavour to obtain a, much needed 

' These include, besides the memoirs of Quiros himself, narra,tives by 
Torres, by the pilot De Leza, and by the accountant Juan de Iturbe, with 
some other contemporary documents. The voyage is also described by 
Torquemada in his Monarquia Indiana. 

' The first inhabited island has been identified, by the late Admiral Sir 
W. J. Wharton, with the atoll of Anaa (or Chain Island), in which case the 
atoll sighted on February 12 would be one of those to the N.W. of Fakarava. 


water-supply some slight .collisions occurred. At length the high 
island of Taumaku, 60 leagues short of Santa Cruz, was reached, 
and after friendly dealings with the natives a more southerly 
course was steered, which led past the northern outliers of the 
New Hebrides to the largest island of the group, traversed by 
lofty chains of mountains, which received the name of Espiritu 
Santo. The ships anchored in the bay on the northern coast, 
which was named after St Philip and St James. Quiros appears 
to have made plans for the establishment of a settlement, which 
was to be called New Jerusalem ; but being forced during a squall 
to run out of the bay, and the weather not suffering him to 
return, he after a few days steered north, and when in the latitude 
of Guam shaped a course for Acapulco, which was reached on 
November 23, 1606. 

This proceeding of Quiros in abandoning the enterprise 
without a more serious attempt to communicate with his second 
in command has been much criticised, and the reasons for such 
a course are by no means obvious. One explanation is found in 
a letter of Don Diego de Prado, who accompanied Torres on his 
further voyage and who states that Quiros had virtually been 
carried a prisoner to Mexico by a mutinous crew. No such 
reason is given by either De Leza or Juan de Iturbe, which 
would be intelligible enough if, as is possible, these were in- 
culpated in the mutiny. Quiros returned to Spain and urged on 
the government, but without success, the desirability of further 
efforts for the discovery of the southern lands, which he variously 
names Austr(i)alia del Espiritu Santo, Indias Australes, or by 
analogous terms. Setting out in 16 14 to make a last attempt, 
independently of government aid, he died without proceeding 
further than Panama. 

Through the return of Quiros from Espiritu Santo it came 
about that the most important discoveries of the voyage fell to 
the share of Torres, whose subsequent achievements entitle him 
to a high place among the navigators of the seventeenth century. 
They are clearly described in the letter addressed by him from 
Manila to the Spanish king on July 12, 1607. The separation of 
the ships occurred on June 11, 1606, after which date Torres 
waited 15 days in the bay of St Philip and St James, in the 


expectation of Quiros's return. It was then decided to proceed 
without the flag-ship, and the island of Espiritu was coasted for 
some distance, although the strong currents prevented its circum- 
navigation. Having sailed on a south-west course for a consider- 
able distance without sign of land, Torres turned N.N.W. and 
fell in with land in 11° 30', which he took for the beginning of 
New Guinea. In reality it would seem to have been one of the 
islands of the Louisiade group, possibly Tagula or Sudest^ For, 
from a legend on Don Diego de Prado's chart of the lands 
about China Strait (named by him Tierra de la Buenaventura) 
we learn that this strait — at the extreme east of New Guinea — 
was reached on July 18, after vain endeavours to approach the 
land during the preceding five days by reason of the dangerous 
reefs. This shows that land had been previously sighted, as is 
also indicated by the latitude of the first landfall, and the name 
applied to the whole country, this being derived from a festival 
falling on July 14. The further course is somewhat uncertain, as 
the distances given are exaggerated and the latitudes do not 
always fit in with any possible course. Torres seems to have 
sailed along the Louisiade reef and the south coast of New 
Guinea (where the first navigators to follow him were Bougain- 
ville and Cook), as far as 9° S., where shoals compelled him to 
resume a south-west course as far as 11° S.^ Here large islands 

^ Torres uses an ambiguous phrase with regard to the distance sailed on a 
south-west course, saying that he passed " the latitude " by a degree. He had 
already spoken of "the order" for the regulation of the voyage, so that the 
phrase would seem to refer to the latitude fixed upon to be reached towards 
the south after leaving Santa Cruz. From Quiros's memoirs we know that this 
was 20°, so that, passing this by a degree, Torres would reach 21", which is in 
fact stated to have been the case in the memorial of Arias. A S.W. course to 
this latitude, followed by a N.N.W. one, would just bring the navigator to 
Sudest Island. 

^ Torres's latitudes have caused commentators some difficulty here. He 
says the shoal which commenced at 9° S. stretched along the coast until 
7° 30' S., and "the extremity is 5" [degrees?], whereas the head of the Gulf 
of Papua is hardly so far north as 7° 30'. The difficulty is removed if we con- 
sider that 5° gives the latitude of the final termination of shoal water north of 
the Aru Islands, and this fits in well with the subsequent statement, that after 
going along the shoal for two months the voyagers (after the passage of Torres 
Strait) found themselves in 25 fathoms and in 5° latitude. In this case it would 
be possible that the head of the Gulf of Papua was not reached. 


were seen, which must have been in the neighbourhood of Cape 
York Peninsula — ^itself possibly sighted. After two months' coast- 
' ing of the shoal, the latitude of 5° S. was reached, and here the 
coast trended north-east and could not be followed on account 
of shoal water. Apart from the latitude this point would agree 
well with False Cape, the south-west point of Prince Frederick 
Henry Island, the shoal water recalling the Modder (Mud) 
Eylandt and Modder Grondt of Dutch navigators in this locality. 
A northerly course brought the voyagers to another coast 
running east and west in 4°, which was rightly considered to be 
still a part of New Guinea. It was followed to the W.N.W., and 
near its termination clothed " Moors " were met with, who gave 
information regarding affairs at the Moluccas. Leaving New 
Guinea and passing through a sea strewn with islands, Torres 
reached Batjan and proceeded via Ternate to Manila, where he 
seems to have arrived in May, 1607. 

By this voyage Torres had conclusively proved the insular 
character of New Guinea, of the southern portions of which he 
had taken formal possession in the name of the King of Spain. 
In the state of decadence into which that empire had now 
entered, these important discoveries were, however, little heeded, 
and the world at large remained in total ignorance of them for 
nearly two centuries. The Dutch still believed in a connection 
between New Guinea and Australia, or at least regarded the 
question as still open, even their great navigator Tasman re- 
maining in ignorance on the subject. It was not until the 
narrative of Torres had fallen into the hands of Alexander 
Dalrymple after the capture of Manila by the English in 1762, 
that full justice was done to the merits of Torres, and his name 
applied to the strait discovered by him'. 

Another Pacific voyage, of some importance in the history of 
discovery, was that of the Dutch navigators Willem Corneliszoon 

1 A map, now lost, showing the results of Torres's discoveries, was prepared 
by Don Diego de Prado, already alluded to. Plans by the same hand of bays 
and harbours on the coasts visited have, however, come down to us, and are 
generally accurate in their delineation. They were first reproduced in the 
Boletin of the Madrid Geographical Society, Vol. 4, 1878, and subsequently 
in Collingridge's Discovery of Australia, chapter XLl, and elsewhere. 


Schouten and Jacob Le Maire, which belongs to the second 
decade of the seventeenth century. This expedition, which 
sailed from the Texel on June 14, 1615, was not carried out 
under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company, although 
the latter had obtained the monopoly of all trading voyages to 
the east of the Cape, or through the Strait of Magellan. To 
elude the restrictions thus imposed on outsiders, a company of 
merchants headed by Isaac Le Maire (father of Jacob) fitted out 
two ships, the Eendracht and Hoorn, to search for a passage to 
the South Sea south of Magellan's Strait. It was regarded as 
possible that rich countries, with which trade might be opened 
up, might be found in the supposed Southern Continent beyond 
Tierra del Fuego. The insular character of the latter had already 
been virtually proved by the voyages of Drake and others, which 
had in fact much shaken the grounds for the behef in any 
continental land immediately to the south of America'. The 
conservatism of geographers, however, had refused to abandon 
the old idea. On January 24, 1616, the Dutch captains sighted 
the passage between Tierra del Fuego and the smaller island to 
the east, and conferred on it the name Le Maire Strait. To the 
island — not recognised as such at the time — the name Staten Land 
was given, in honour of the States General of the Netherlands. 
On January 29, the ships were off Cape Horn, the southernmost 
point of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, which received its 
name from the town of Hoorn, the birthplace of Schouten, and 
the port where the expedition had been equipped^ Soon after- 
wards the voyagers had before them the wide waters of the South 

Before continuing the narrative of Schouten's voyage, the 
later explorations in this region may be briefly referred to. In 
1618-19 an expedition to examine Le Maire Strait was undertaken 
by the brothers Bartolomd Garcia and Gongalo de Nodal, who 
sailed from Lisbon for the purpose. The strait was also navigated 

' So early as 1525, one of the ships of the squadron of Garcia de Loaysa 
had found an open sea in latitude 55°, and the crew even imagined they 
discerned the termination of Tierra del Fuego. 

'^ It is possible that Drake had already seen Cape Horn, as he is said by 
his chronicler to have reached ' ' the uttermost part of those islands. " 


by the Dutch " Nassau " fleet under Jaques rHeremite (or le 
Hermite) in 1624. On this occasion, after doubling Cape Horn, 
the Dutch navigators examined and named Nassau Bay to the 
north of the Cape Horn group of islands, which seems to have 
been considered a single island. It was named Le Hermite, a 
name now borne by the westernmost of the group. The insular 
character of Staten Land was discovered by Hendrik Brouwer — 
at one time Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies — during 
his voyage to Chile in 1643. 

To return to Schouten's expedition, the principal objective of 
which was, as we have seen, the supposed continent to the south 
of the Pacific Ocean. In accordance with his instructions, 
therefore, Schouten did not, like most of his predecessors, steer 
a northerly course along the coast of South America, but after 
refreshing at Juan Fernandez (discovered during the previous 
century by the Spanish navigator of that name) struck north-west 
and followed in the main the track of Magellan, crossing the 
tropic of Capricorn on March 11^- The reason for coming 
northward to this latitude was the necessity for obtaining the help 
of the trade winds in the voyage across the ocean. By April 3 
the navigators had reached 15° 12' S. and found that the compass 
showed no variation I The first island — one of the northernmost 
of the Low Archipelago — was here sighted, and named Dog 
Island. From this point the course for several weeks diverged 

1 The year before Schouten and Le Maire sailed, another great Dutch 
expedition under Joris Spilbergen had proceeded to the East by the Pacific 
route, and thus effected the second Dutch circumnavigation of the globe. 
Spilbergen sailed up the American coast to Acapulco before crossing the 
Pacific, and his voyage brought little addition to geographical knowledge. 
It is interesting, however, as supplying the first record of an eruption of the 
great volcano Mayon (" Albaca" or Albay) in the Philippines. 

^ The Dutch voyages supply the means of reconstructing the isogenic chart 
for the period, which has been done by Prof. W. van Bemmelen in an 
appendix to Tasman's journal, edited in 1898 by Prof. J. E. Heeres. The 
passage from westerly declination (which seems to have prevailed throughout 
a closed area in the Eastern Pacific) to easterly had been recorded, at a point 
a little to the south-west of that here reached, during the voyage of Quiros and 
Torres. The latter found the variation to be nil on the south coast of New 
Guinea, this marking the commencement of the great area of westerly declina- 
tion occurring in the Indian Ocean. 


little from 15° S., and, after some of the large western atolls of 
the Low Archipelago had been passed, led them for a time south 
of the tracks of all previous voyagers. Islands were still seen 
and some of the welUcnown double canoes of the Polynesians 
were met with. On May 11, the Samoan group having been left 
on the north, two small islands were seen in 16° 10' — the one 
high, being formed of a single mountain, the other somewhat 
lower, and lying two leagues to the southward. These islands — 
named by the Dutch Cokos (Coconut) Eiland, and Verraders 
(Traitor's) Eiland respectively — are the modern Tafahi or Bos- 
cawen and Niuatabutabu or Keppel, lying centrally between the 
Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa groups. 

Having held to the south of west to the latitude named 
without finding any signs of a continent, Schouten now sailed 
north and north-west so as to make the north coast of New 
Guinea. Several other small islands having been passed, the 
coast of New Ireland, never before visited, was struck, and taken 
to be the termination of New Guinea. Passing to the northward 
of this island and New Hanover, the ships made the coast of 
New Guinea near Vulcan Island, and followed it westward to its 
termination, finally, after being tossed about by contrary winds, 
anchoring off Jilolo on September 5. On the north coast of 
New Guinea the Dutch had of course been preceded by the 
Spaniards and Portuguese (Jorge de Meneses in 1526-27, Saavedra 
in 1528, and Ynigo Ortiz de Retes in 1545), but some additions 
were made to the knowledge of its geography, and the nomen- 
clature of our maps still bears traces of the voyage in Vulcan and 
Schouten Islands, and in the Cape of Good Hope, the north- 
west point of the main island. On reaching Jacatra (Batavia) the 
Eendracht and her cargo (the Hoorn having previously been 
burnt) were arbitrarily seized by the Governor Jans Pieterszoon 
Coen on the ground of infringement of the Company's mono- 
poly. Jacob le Maire died — of vexation it is said — during the 
homeward voyage with Spilbergen. 

The next Dutch voyage of circumnavigation — that of the 
"Nassau" fleet under Le Hermite in 1623-26 — accomplished little 
in the way of geographical discovery. After an attempt, attended 
with little success on the Spanish possessions in Peru, the fleet 


proceeded to Acapulco after Le Hermite's death, and crossed the 
Pacific in about 17° N. Observations for magnetic declination 
were made during the voyage. 

The expedition of Schouten and Le Maire had been un- 
successful with regard to the discovery of the Southern Continent. 
Nor did more success attend another scheme for the examination 
of the supposed continental lands to the south of the Atlantic. 
Either in 1615 or quite early in 1616 a Dutch ship, the Mauritius 
de Nassau, appears to have sailed for Angola under the command 
of one Jan Remmetszoon, with the ultimate aim of exploring the 
Terra Australis westward, and if possible discovering a new 
passage to the South Sea. Nothing is known, however, of the 
voyage of this ship. 

We have seen that the first part of the shores of Australia to 
be visited by the Dutch was the eastern shore of the Gulf of 
Carpentaria, reached by the Uuifken in 1606. It was some 
years before exploration was carried farther in this direction, and 
meanwhile other discoveries had been made in a totally different 
quarter of the island continent. In 161 6 the Directors of the 
Dutch East India Company, wishing to find a better route to 
Java than that usually followed, had given orders to captains 
sailing to the east by the Cape route to take a more southerly 
course across the Indian Ocean than had hitherto been the 
custom. In following these directions the Hendracht, commanded 
by Dirk Hartogszoon of Amsterdam, unexpectedly fell in (October, 
1 61 6) with the west coast of Australia, or rather with the ad- 
jacent island, in Lat. 26° S., still known as Dirk Hartog Island. 
During the further voyage to Bantam the neighbouring coast was 
examined in a northerly direction and soon received the name 
Eendrachtsland after the ship which made the discovery, being at 
once regarded as part of the long-sought Southern Continent. 
Further discoveries along the same coast were soon made. In 
161 7 the Zeewolf, with Haevick Claeszoon as skipper and Pieter 
Dirkszoon as supercargo, sailed east in 39° N. and, turning north, 
struck land in about 21° 20' S., which was thought to be probably 
a mainland coast. A year later Lenaert Jacobszoon in the 
Mauritius reached the same coast in about 22° S., but took it for 


an island. He seems to have discovered a river, which was 
named Willems Revier {sic). Again in 161 9 the Dordrecht and 
Amsterdam, two of the ships of the fleet of Frederik Houtman 
(who sailed in the Dordrecht) struck the south land in 32° 20' S. 
on July 19. Steering north and sighting various points along the 
coast until 27" was reached, the commanders came to the con- 
clusion that all the land seen formed part of the mainland 
discovered by Dirk Hartogszoon. The rocks subsequently known 
as Houtman's Abrolhos were discovered on this voyage, while the 
land first seen received the name Dedelsland after the supercargo 
of the A7nsterdam. The most southerly portion of the west coast 
was discovered in 1622 by the Leeuwin, which name is still borne 
by the cape which marks the final change of direction of the coast. 

Of the subsequent voyages to this western coast, which 
continued to be made during another decade and more, we can 
refer to two only — that of Gerrit de Witt in 1628, and that of 
Frangois Pelsaert in 1629. The former, during the homeward 
voyage from Java, was carried southward and reached that part 
of the coast (at the beginning of the north-west section) afterwards 
known as De Witt's land. The latter in 1629 lost his ship, the 
Batavia, on the Houtman's Abrolhos, and, during a voyage to 
Batavia in one of the boats, surveyed the coast from 28° 13' to 
22° 17'. After many attempts, rendered ineffectual by the pre- 
cipitous nature of the coast, and the breakers which beat against 
it, a landing was at last effected. The land was utterly barren, 
but natives were seen, though no communication could be opened 
with them. Pelsaert returned from Batavia to rescue those of 
the crew left at the Abrolhos, but discovering a plot, executed 
some of the conspirators and abandoned two others on the 
mainland. In the space of 13 years almost the whole western 
coast had thus been visited from Cape Leeuwin to about 21°, and 
the results of most of the voyages are well shown in the chart of 
Hessel Gerritz, cartographer to the East India Company, compiled 
in 1627 from the journals and drawings of the pilots. 

Meanwhile the voyage of a single ship, the Gulden Zeepaard, 
had in 1627 resulted in a knowledge of the whole southern coast 
as far east as 133° — a distance exceeding that covered by the 
whole series of voyages to the west coast already described. 


Unfortunately, hardly anything is known of the details of this 
voyage. The Zeepaard, commanded by Francois Thijszoon, and 
having on board Pieter Nuyts, member of the Indian Council, 
appears to have been separated from the rest of an eastward 
bound fleet which sailed in 1626, and to have surveyed the south 
coast of Australia between January and April 1627, arriving at 
Batavia on the loth of the latter month. Of the reality of the 
discovery there can be no doubt, from the comparative accuracy 
of the dehneation of the coast visited, on charts of a slightly later 
date, before any other vessel had followed in the track of the 
Zeepaard. These show in their proper places both the Recherche 
Archipelago and that still known by the name of Pieter Nuyts, 
which formed the eastern limit of discovery. The islands of 
St Peter and St Francis, which still figure in our maps as the 
principal units of the latter group, received their names on this 
occasion, while the land to the north of the Great Australian 
Bight was long known as that of Pieter Nuyts. 

While these discoveries were being made — more by accident 
than design — in the south and west, exploration had already been 
resumed in the extreme north. On January 21, 1623, Herman 
van Speult, Governor of Amboina, despatched two ships, the 
Arnhem and Pera, under the chief cornmand of Jan Carstenszoon, 
to continue the work of the Duifken on the Gulf of Carpentaria. 
New Guinea was reached in 4° 1 7' S. and the coast followed in 
an easterly direction. A collision — fatal to several Dutchmen — 
again took place with the natives'. On February 16, high 
mountains, streaked with snow, were seen in the interior — 
evidently the central snowy chain of Western New Guinea, the 
exploration of which, entirely neglected down to our own day, has 
been taken up energetically since the beginning of the present 
century. Its highest known peak — over 15,000 feet in height — 
has been named Mount Carstensz, after the old Dutch navigator 
now claiming our attention. On reaching 7° S. the coast was 
found to trend to the S.W.^, and on this account a point of land 

^ It will be remembered that nine of the crew of the Duifken lost their 
lives in a similar way. 

- Prince Frederick Henry Island was taken for a part of the mainland, 
though its insular character had been recognised during the voyage of the 

H. 6 


was named Cape Keerweer — not to be confounded with the cape 
of the same name on the Gulf of Carpentaria, reached by the 
Duifken. The shallows in Torres Strait — mistaken for a bay — 
again proved a hindrance to eastward progress, and the ships 
turned south along the Australian coast, supposed to be still part 
of New Guinea. On reaching 17° 8', where the Staten river was 
discovered and named, it was resolved to turn back and explore 
the <;oast more carefully. The two ships became separated, and 
Carstenszoon in the Pera, after discovering and naming other 
rivers on the coast of the Cape York Peninsula, made his way 
back by way of the Aru islands. Of the proceedings of the 
Arnhem after the separation, little certain information is avail- 
able. However, from the instructions drawn up for the next 
voyage in this direction it appears that that vessel had, between 
9° and 13°, discovered new lands, not recognised as forming part 
of the mainland, which received the names Arnhem's and Speult's 
lands. Although these cannot be strictly identified, there can be 
little doubt that they were projecting points (or possibly islands) 
of that part of the Northern Territory of Australia which still 
bears the name Arnhem Land^. 

It was not until 1636 that further steps were taken to extend 
the discoveries in this direction. In that year Gerrit Thomaszoon 
Pool and Pieter Pieterszoon sailed from Banda for New Guinea, 
which was struck at a point more to the west than had been the 
case in the previous expeditions. The islands and bays of a part 
of the western peninsula of the island were thus explored ^ As 
on the former voyages, the natives proved treacherous, and Pool 
and several of his crew lost their lives at or near the scene of the 
former disaster. Pieterszoon, who succeeded to the command, 
soon proceeded to the Aru and Ke islands, whence, standing 
south, he advanced as far as 11° 8', discovering two stretches of 
coast, east and west of each other, and separated by a channel. 
These can be no other than Melville Island and a part of the 

1 The question has been discussed by Prof. Heeres in the editorial portion 
of his edition of Tasman's journal, pp. 101-2. The position generally 
assigned to Arnhem Land is confirmed by the facts connected with Pool's 
voyage, and by contemporary charts. 

'^ This coast had already been visited by Torres, as is shown by De Prado's 
charts. But the Dutch were in ignorance of the results of his voyage. 


adjacent mainland. The new coastline received the names of 
Van Diemen's and Maria's land — the former name being still 
applied to the north-west point of Melville Island — though the 
conjecture was made by the Dutch authorities that it was 
identical with Arnhem's or Speult's islands already discovered ^ 

The voyages of Carstenszoon and Pool had thus resulted in 
some new discoveries, but had not succeeded in clearing up the 
relations to each other of the various coasts discovered, nor to 
the more western lands of Eendracht, De Witt, etc. They had 
also rather strengthened than weakened the belief in a connection 
between New Guinea and the South Land. To clear up the 
former point was reserved for the great navigator Tasman, whose 
career of discovery was now opening. 

Although Tasman's fame rests chiefly on his Australian dis- 
coveries, his earlier work was concerned with more northern parts 
of the Eastern Seas, so that we must glance briefly at the course 
of discovery in the region to the north before continuing the story 
in its bearing on Australia. In the archipelago west of New 
Guinea little of course remained to be done in the way of 
maritime discovery after the close of the sixteenth century. Yet, 
owing to the fact that ships followed fixed routes from one part to 
another, certain restricted areas had remained almost unvisited. 
One of these was the sea to the north of Ceram, which lay off the 
main routes connecting the most important positions in the 

To bring about a better knowledge of this sea was, as it 
happened, the first important task in which Tasman took part 
after his arrival in the East. Born about 1603 in the small 
village of Lutjegast, Abel Janszoon Tasman, after being twice 
married, seems to have entered the service of the East India 
Company in 1632 or 1633. In 1634 he sailed as skipper of the 
Mocha, on the Ceram voyage just referred to. Owing to the 

' Prof. Heeres (loc. cit.), after showing that Speult's land must have lain 
to the east of Arnhem's land, throws out the suggestion that the former may 
possibly have been the Groote Eylandt on the west side of the Gulf of 
Carpentaria. This, however, is considerably south of 13°, while, in view of 
the way in which the northern coast of Arnhem's land is broken by bays, it is 
unnecessary to go far to find two apparently distinct lands which might have 
borne the names in question. 



stormy nature of the seas south of Ceram during the eastern 
monsoon, it was thought that a better though circuitous route 
from Amboina to Banda at this season might be found by the 
north of the island ; and the verification of this conjecture, which 
formed the object of the voyage, was fully attained, though 
Tasman's crew came into collision with the natives pn the south- 
east coast of Ceram. A chart — still in existence — showing the 
whole north coast of Ceram, was prepared as a result of the 

For some time after this Tasman was engaged in unexciting 
operations in the archipelago, and it was not till 1639, after 
a brief visit to the Netherlands, that he was again employed on 
a voyage of discovery. He had meanwhile become expert in the 
art of navigation, his skill and experience being spoken of in 
high terms by the authorities in 1638. 

The scene of the new explorations was to be in the western 
part of the northern Pacific, which, although regularly traversed 
by the Spanish ships sailing from the Philippines to Mexico, gave 
free scope, by reason of its huge expanse, to stories of all sorts 
regarding the existence of rich countries still awaiting the advent 
of merchants. The eastward route generally followed across the 
Pacific is described in De Morga's Philippines (1609) as varying 
between east and north, until, after sighting the Ladrones and 
passing between certain islands rarely seen in 38° N., the ships 
eventually reached a latitude of 42°. During the latter part of 
the voyage the course was south-east, the coast of America being 
struck between 40° and 36° and followed southward to Acapulco'. 
The islands supposed to He in 38° had for some unexplained reason 
acquired the names Rica de Oro and Rica de Plata (Rich in Gold 
and Rich in Silver). In addition to these, two rich well-peopled 
islands were said to have been discovered before 1584, between 
35° and 40°, by a Portuguese ship carried by storms for nine days 
to the east of Japan. Unsuccessful attempts were made by the 
Spaniards to discover these islands, especially by the voyage of 
Sebastian Vizcaino, who reached Japan from Mexico in 16 11. In 

^ The reason for this circuitous route was, of course, the avoidance of the 
trade-winds and the utilisation of the south-westerly winds of more northern 


1635 accounts of these mysterious islands, said to abound in gold 
and silver, and to be inhabited by a white race of fine physique 
and gentle manners, reached the Dutch authorities in the Eastern 
Archipelago through an agent in Japan named Verstegen, and 
after some delay it was decided in 1639 t® despatch an ex- 
pedition in search of them^. 

Two ships, the Engel and Graft, were fitted out, and the chief 
command was entrusted to Matthijs Hendricxsen Quast, a captain 
of much experience in the Japanese and other Eastern trade, 
while Tasman, captain of the Graft, was second in command. 
The ships proved in bad condition, and sickness soon broke out 
among the crews, so that the whole voyage was carried out in the 
face of great difficulties. In spite of these, however, and the 
necessary failure to find the non-existent lands of which they 
were in search, Quast and Tasman did valuable work in charting 
a portion of the eastern seas of which the previous maps seem 
to have been very faulty, their observations being made with sur- 
prising accuracy, considering the instruments then in use. 

Passing to the north of Bangka, where islands not previously 
marked were placed on the chart, the ships, after recruiting at 
Pulo Aur near the southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula, 
steered for the island of Luzon, which was found to lie more to 
the east than it had hitherto been placed. Passing round the 
north end of that island (the south-west wind being unfavour- 
able for the proposed course to the south of it), and continuing 
their survey, the commanders steered east and north-east, and 
after a time fell in with the Bonin Islands, of which they made 
the first recorded discovery. A wearisome cruise through the 
seas east of Japan now ensued, during which, after the Japanese 
coast had been sighted through fog in about 37° N., the ships 
advanced eastward without sight of land to about 170° E. It was 
now proposed to return and survey the coasts of Tartary, Korea, 
and China — a task which formed part of the two captains' com- 
mission — but the wretched state of the ships made it imperative 

' Verstegen apparently based his information on the reports of the Portu- 
guese ship above alluded to, although lie ascribes the discovery to a Spanish ship. 
It seems possible that the Portuguese ship, if such it was, really struck the 
coast of Japan near 40° N. after being driven hither and thither by storms. 


to return to port as quickly as possible. After reaching the 
latitude of 42°, the coast of Nippon seems to have been struck 
near its south-east point, a very high mountain, answering to 
Fujiyama, being sighted. The east 'coast of Kiusiu was next 
reached, proving to lie farther west than the charts had led the 
explorers to expect ; and, after its southern point had been 
doubled, a course was laid for Formosa, where, on November 24, 
the ships anchored, none too soon, before the Dutch fortress of 

During the next few years Tasman was pretty constantly 
engaged on trading voyages for the Dutch to Japan, Formosa, 
Cambodia, and elsewhere'. The authorities had not, however, 
been pei^manently discouraged by the failure of the expedition 
of 1639, and in 1643 it was resolved to make yet another 
attempt, the objects in view being again the exploration of the 
coasts of Tartary and the search for the gold and silver islands. 
The command was this time entrusted to Marten Gerritszoon 
Vries, with Hendrik CorneHszoon Schaep as second in command, 
the ships being the Kastrikom and Breskens. The unknown 
regions of the north practically began at the island of Yezo, 
for though this had already been visited (1620) by the Jesuit 
missionaries De Angelis and Carvalho, it was still doubted by 
geographers, and even by the Dutch in Japan, whether it were 
really an independent island, or joined either to Nippon on 
the south^, or to the mainland of Asia on the west. This voyage 
of Vries failed to solve the question completely, though it con- 
siderably extended the bounds of knowledge. The two ships, 
which sailed from Batavia on February 3, 1643, narrowly escaped 
wreck on a small island south of the outer point of Nippon, and 
becoming separated, continued the voyage independently. Vries 
himself in the Kastrikom sailed up the east coast of Nippon and 
reached Yezo without definitely proving the existence of an 

' The relations of the Dutch with Cambodia commenced in 1601, and in 
1636 they obtained permission to build a factory there. Tasman in 1641 sailed 
up the Bassak, or eastern mouth of the Mekong. 

' It was known that a visit to Yezo from Nippon entailed a sea voyage, 
but this was sometimes ascribed to the difficult nature of the supposed land 




intervening strait. Coasting the latter island with high snowy- 
mountains now and then in sight, the voyagers reached its eastern 
point near a summit which they called Piek Anthonij. Friendly 
relations were maintained with the inhabitants, who possessed 
many ornaments of silver, which led the Dutch to conclude that 
mines existed in their country. Still sailing north-east they 
discovered an island — apparently Iturup — and beyond it a strait 

T"=Oi-\^ v^ji\ Jeso- TiA\ 




ti vfcr eenCyuoAt 



37 \ 

Dutch chart showing results of Vries's voyage. (Outline sketch.) 

dividing it from another land to the east. The former was 
named Staten Island, while the supposed large land to the east 
received the name " Compagnies Landt." Both were filled with 
bare shining mountains. Passing through the strait, still named 
after the Dutch commander, the voyagers entered a stormy sea, 
in which they advanced as far north as 48°. Then, driven back 
by adverse winds, they made the coast of Sakhalin, which they 


took to be still a part of Yezo. This was explored from Cape 
Patience (in about 49°) almost to its southern point, the ship 
afterwards returning through Vries Strait to the south coast 
of Yezo. Interesting information as to the land and its people 
was here obtained, especially from a Japanese sailor, who 
declared that Yezo was an island. The hairy inhabitants (Ainus) 
were described, the women's custom of marking their, lips with 
blue being mentioned. Vries afterwards sailed eastward in 
37° 30' in search of the gold and silver islands, but of course 
without success. 

The voyage of the Breskens also resulted in some discoveries. 
Passing the entrance to the strait- between Nippon and Yezo, 
Schaep sailed along the coast of the latter, but, instead of 
sailing through Vries Strait, continued on the outer side of the 
Kurile chain, reaching the latitude 47° 8', twelve degrees east of 
the east point of Nippon. Touching at the Japanese coast on 
his return voyage, he was arrested and taken to the capital, but 
ultimately released. The Breskens meanwhile also made an 
unavailing search for the fabulous islands. 

The discoveries of Vries and his comrades were not followed 
up by new voyages, and it was not till a century later that the 
geography of the Japanese islands was finally made clear by the 
voyage of La Perouse. 

We now come to the great expedition which was for the first 
time to shed light on the true relations of the southern lands 
hitherto discovered by the Dutch. It had long been wished by 
the Government in the Archipelago, no less than by the authorities 
at home, that the uncertainties which enveloped the mysterious 
southern continent might be cleared away, and at length on 
August I, 1642, a resolution was arrived at to despatch two ships, 
the Heemskerk and Zeehaen, for that object. Tasman was chosen 
as Commander-in-chief, while the captains of the vessels were, 
respectively, Yde Holman and Gerrit Janszoon. The most 
responsible officer next to Tasman was, however, the pilot-major 
Frans Jacobszoon Visscher, already alluded to in connection 
with surveying work, in the East, who was perhaps the most ' 
experienced and trusted pilot in the service of the Dutch at the 


time. The principal objects which the authorities had in view 
were the exploration (as far south as 54°) of the Southern Indian 
Ocean, whose broad expanse had never yet been traversed by 
a European ship much beyond 40° 1, and the discovery of a 
passage — which they confidently expected to exist— between 
Eendrachtsland and other known parts of Australia, and the 
main mass of the southern continent. It was hoped that in this 
direction a convenient route might be found by which to open up 
trade with the remote shores of Chile. The solution of the 
problem of the connection or non-connection of New Guinea 
with the more southern lands also formed part of the programme, 
and Tasman was instructed to sail along the whole northern 
coasts of the latter, if possible as far as Willems River in 21° N. 

The ships sailed from Batavia in Java on August 14, 1642, 
and passing through the Straits of Sunda, proceeded first to 
Mauritius, where some defects in the equipment were made good. 
On October 8, a new start was made, a general southerly course 
being steered until almost 40° had been reached, after which the 
direction was changed to south-east. In about the longitude of 
Kerguelen Land — although according to the reckoning some 4^° 
north of its true position (i.e. in 44° 47' S.) — dark foggy weather 
was experienced, and as apparent signs of land were seen in the 
form of floating weed, grass, and leaves, it was deemed prudent 
on account of the fog to change the course again for a more 
easterly one. The highest latitude was reached in about 97° E., 
and though only 49° 4' according to Tasman's computation, even 
this was full 10° south of any point hitherto reached in that longi- 
tude. At length on November 4, at 4 p.m., very high land never 
before reached by European navigators was sighted, the position at 
noon the same day being estimated as in Lat. 42° 25' S., and in a 
longitude corresponding to 145° 52' east of Greenwich^ 

^ As we have seen, from 1616 onwards, outward-bound ships often steered 
east, after passing the Cape, in latitudes of 38° and 39°. The governor. Van 
Diemen, in 1633 seems to have passed 40°. 

^ Tasman's longitudes were no doubt calculated from the Peak of Tenerife, 
through which passed the initial meridian generally used by the Dutch at the 
time. That of Ferro — considered to be exactly 20° west of Paris — had been 
formally adopted in France in 1634, and were this the zero line used by 


This new land was the south-west coast of the island now 
known as Tasmania, but named by Tasman "Anthony Van 
Diemens Landt," in honour of the famous governor of the Dutch 
East Indies. It was found that the needle here pointed due 
north, the last 4° of westerly variation having fallen off very 
abruptly. This, Tasman says, is a useful sign of the approach to 
the land. From November 4 to December 5 the ships were 
cruising off the coast, surveying when possible its bays, capes, and 
islands, which were duly set down on a chart. Stormy weather 
was experienced, and it was not till December 2 that a landing 
could be effected. According to the report of the pilot-major, 
the land was high but level, covered with wild vegetation, the 
trees standing apart and not choked with undergrowth. Signs of 
the presence of natives were seen, two trees having notches made 
in the bark at five feet intervals to enable the natives to climb to 
their tops. From this the sailors concluded that the people must 
be of immense stature. Foot-prints of animals not unlike those 
made by a tiger's claws were also seen. The following day 
Tasman himself landed, but on a second attempt the pinnace was 
unable to reach the shore on account of the surf; the carpenter 
therefore swam ashore with a pole marked with the Company's 
mark, which he set up as a symbol of possession^ The voyage 
was continued past the islands of the east coast, but on reaching 
the point now known as Freycinet Peninsula it was found no 
longer possible to steer near the coast, so the voyage was resumed 
in an easterly direction. 

This course had been held for eight days only, when, on 
December 13, another hitherto undiscovered land appeared 
in sight. It lay to the south-east and was extensive and high, 
but desolate, consisting, as was afterwards found to be the case, 
of a double mountain range, compared by Tasman with those 
of Formosa. This was the west coast of the south island of 
New Zealand, and the part first sighted lay in about 42° 10' S. 

Tasman, his results would be still more accurate than on the former sup- 
position. His pilot-major Visscher is known, however, to have reckoned 
from Tenerife. 

^ This was on the shore of Frederick Henry (" Henricx") Bay on the east 
coast, to the south of Maria's Island. 


Believing this to be part of the South Land and to be connected 
with the Staten Land of Schouten and Le Maire, the navigators 
called this also Staten Land. Sailing northward along the coast 
in view of the surf breaking on the shore, the voyagers passed the 
rocks of Cape Foulwind, known to this day as the Steeples, to 
which objects they were likened by Tasman. Then rounding 
Cape Farewell, they entered the broad bight (Zeehaen's Bocht) 
between the two islands. Natives were now encountered and a 
collision occurred in which four Dutchmen lost their Uves. The 
people were of ordinary height, between brown and yellow in 
colour, and naked from the waist upward. They wore tufts of 
black hair on the top of their heads, surmounted by white 
feathers. Their voices were harsh and they blew on an instru- 
ment with a sound like that of a trumpet. Their canoes — of 
which Tasman gives a drawing in his journal — were double, with 
planking between. The bay in which this encounter took place 
— the first within the north point of the South Island — was 
named by the Dutch " Murderer's Bay^" The ships now tacked 
up and down the broad expanse (Zeehaen's Bocht), leading to 
Cook Strait, without however discovering the latter, though hopes 
were at first entertained of finding a passage through to the 
South Seas". The sea ran so strong into the bay that the ships 
could make no headway against it, and, the wind also rising, they 
were with difficulty held to their anchors in Tasman's Bay, the 
second on the coast of the South Island. 

On December 26, the voyage was resumed in a northerly 
direction along the west coast of the North Island, and on 
January 4, 1643, the cape at its northern extremity was sighted, 
receiving the name Maria Van Diemen, while an island lying off 
it was named Three Kings Island, as the ships were there on the 
eve of the Epiphany. A heavy sea was found to run from the 
north-east, which gave renewed hopes of a passage eastwards. 
An attempt to replenish the water casks at the island — where 

1 It now bears the name Massacre Bay on our maps. 

2 In a rough chart drawn by Visscher, the coast line shows a gap just 
where the narrow part of the strait really occurs. Even after the unsuccessful 
attempt to find the strait, Tasman still thought that such might exist, by reason 
that the tide ran from the south-east. 


natives of tall stature were seen — -having failed, it was resolved to 
sail east and north in order to reach the Cocos and Hoorn 
Islands discovered by Schouten, the instructions having laid down 
that at least the longitude of the Solomon Islands was to be 
reached before a homeward course were steered round the north 
of New Guinea. A small island was sighted on January 19 and 
named Hooge Pijlstaerts (Arrowtail, i.e. Tropic bird) Eylandt, 
and on the 21st the ships came to anchor off the north-west 
coast of Tongatabu, the principal island of the Tonga group 
(Friendly Islands). This was named Amsterdam by the voyagers, 
while the smaller island to the south was called Middelburg. 

The natives proved peaceably disposed, and already justified 
the name subsequently bestowed on the group by Captain Cook. 
After obtaining a good supply of hogs and poultry the ships 
sailed north-east, and the water casks were filled at Namuka 
(Anamocka or Rotterdam of the Dutch) from a small fresh-water 
lake on the island. Passing Tofoa and Kao, the latter of which 
was likened to Krakatau in the Sunda Straits, the navigators 
became involved in the reefs in the north-east of the Fiji group, 
but, finding a passage, sailed among the islands^ off the north-west 
of Vanua Leva without suspecting the considerable size of the 
latter, its projecting headlands being taken for separate islands. 
The weather being stormy it was resolved to steer north and west 
for New Guinea, and on April i the ships were off the north 
extremity of New Ireland, which, like Schouten, Tasman con- 
sidered to form pMt of the larger island. This error was not 
rectified even during the subsequent voyage round the western 
shores of the New Britain group, neither of the straits separating 
the islands from New Guinea and from each other being noticed, 
although the navigators were in hopes of discovering a passage 
through to Cape Keerweer. Beyond Vulkan Island, Schouten's 
track along the northern shores of New Guinea was followed, 
but after reaching the extremity of Waigiu the ships turned south 
through the passage between that island and Jilolo, which till 
then had been unknown to the Dutch. On May 26 Ceram was 
sighted, and the ships finally anchored off Batavia, during the 
night of May 14, 1643. 

^ Prinz Wyllem's Eylanden of Tasmaii's cliart. 


In this great voyage of discovery Tasman had done more than 
all his predecessors to shed light on the broad geographical 
questions relating to the southern parts of the globe. Once for 
all the absence of any connection between Australia and any 
possible south polar continent had been demonstrated, and 
though all questions connected with the former were far from 
being cleared up^, the possibilities with regard to it were now 
brought within comparatively narrow limits, while by the discovery 
of New Zealand the last land area of any size outside the polar 
regions was made known to the world. In latitudes never before 
reached in this quarter of the globe the voyage had led for more 
than five thousand miles through a hitherto trackless ocean^, while 
two thousand more remained before known regions were again 
entered. The nature of the achievement is also shown by the fact 
that over a century elapsed before the example thus set was 
followed. The success of the voyage was no doubt due in part 
to the ability and experience of the pilot-major Visscher, whose 
advice was constantly sought by the commander, and who, it may 
be supposed, had much to do with the excellence of the results 
as regards the charting of the newly found regions. That these 
were not further explored was due largely to the nature of 
Tasman's instructions, which laid the principal stress on the dis- 
covery of a sea route by the south, while to his judicious exercise 
of discretion in the choice of the latitude followed was due the 
discovery of both Tasmania and New Zealand ^ 

The final portion of Tasman's commission in 1642 — that 
relating to the south coast of New Guinea, and the north and 
north-west of Australia — was not carried out during this voyage. 
It was therefore determined early in 1644 to fit out a new 
expedition in order to supply the deficiency. Three ships were 
chosen, the Limmen, Zeemeeuw, and the gahot Bracq, the first- 

' Tasman himself regarded both Tasmania and New Guinea as joined to 
Australia, and he imagined that the latter extended much farther eastward 
than it does, possibly to about 1 60° E. 

" Between 40° and 50° it extended through 115° of longitude. 

^ Tasman's conclusions, based on the direction of the oceanic swell, that no 
large land lay to the south and south-east, no doubt had much to do with the 
selection of the route. 


named having Visscher as captain, while Tasman also sailed in 
her as commander-in-chief. Full instructions were drawn up, the 
principal objects in view being (i) the search for a passage in the 
locality now known as Torres Strait ; (2) the exploration of the 
northern parts of Australia beyond the point reached by Carstensz, 
in order to prove whether they were connected with De Witt's 
Land in the west. Should this not prove to be the case, the 
explorers were to proceed through the passage between the two 
lands to the newly discovered Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), 
and afterwards complete the circumnavigation of the discovered 
South Land by the east. We have unfortunately no detailed 
account of this voyage, and our knowledge of its results is almost 
entirely based on maps, on which the course is laid down with 
great accuracy. The most authentic of these is one prepared 
under Tasman's supervision, probably with the co-operation of 
Visscher. From this it is seen that for some reason or other — 
possibly owing to adverse winds — the exploration of Torres Strait 
was not effected, but Tasman made the same mistake as his 
predecessors in considering New Guinea and Australia to form 
one continuous land mass. The second part of the programme — 
the verification of the continuity of the land from the Gulf of 
Carpentaria to the north-west point of Australia — was however 
carried out successfully. 

The Gulf of Carpentaria was circumnavigated, the ships 
passing between Groote Eylandt and the mainland, and the whole 
north-western coasts were then followed as far as the Tropic of 
Capricorn. Soundings were taken along all the coasts explored 
and are inserted on the chart which has come down to us^ 
From a minute by the Dutch authorities at Batavia, we find that 
the voyagers learnt nothing of the interior of the country, having 
merely sailed along its shores. Apparently, however, they had 
encountered natives, who are described as miserably poor and of 
a bad disposition. 

The northern, western, and the greater part of the southern 
coasts of Australia (which now took the name of Company's New 

1 They are also given in a chart in the British Museum ascribed to Captain 
T. Bowrey, and supposed to be based on a chart of Visscher's, but the two 
versions do not agree. 


Netherlands, soon altered to Nova Hollandia)^, were thus tolerably 
well known as regards their outline. ■ The eastern shores were 
destined to remain unexplored until over a century later. Although 
the Dutch authorities professed the intention of further examining 
the resources of the newly-found lands, little was accomplished, 
and Tasman's discoveries were the culminating achievement of 
that nation in the field of geographical exploration. 

■^ Staten Land soon became known as Nova Zeelandia. 



It has been seen that the French navigators played but a 
subordinate part in the voyages to the East Indies in the early 
part of the sixteenth century. We now turn to a quarter of the 
globe where all the great names that stand out as pioneers in 
geographical discovery during the same period are those of 
Frenchmen. Even in the previous century Frenchmen had many 
times turned their thoughts to North America as a promising field 
for colonisation, and before 1550 fruit had been borne in the 
voyages of Verrazzano and Cartier, while not much later the 
religious troubles in France led to persevering but unsuccessful 
attempts by the Huguenots under Villegagnon, Ribaut, and 
Laudonniere. But the wars of Francis the First had turned men's 
minds from these distant enterprises, and although Norman and 
Breton sailors still frequented the fisheries of the Newfoundland 
banks, nothing had been done before the close of the century to 
extend the knowledge gained by Cartier in his voyages to the 
St Lawrence. A new era began with the accession of Henry IV 
(1593) so that, as has been before observed, the opening of our 
period forms an important turning-point in the history of North 
American discovery. 

The name which stands out above all others in connection 
with the resumption of discovery is that of Samuel de Champlain. 
Born in 1567, this ardent pioneer had fought as a naval captain 
on the side of Henry, and after the conclusion of peace under- 
took a voyage to the West Indies and Mexico (1599-1602). 
Champlain's narrative of this voyage, illustrated by quaint 
drawings, is important as showing the condition of the West 
Indies and Mexico under Spanish rule three centuries ago, 

H. 7 


and it is a special point of interest that, during a visit to Panama, 
Champlain conceived the idea of a ship canal across the isthmus'. 
Soon after his return, his aid in a new Canadian enterprise was 
sought by Aymar de Chastes, who had obtained a patent from 
the king for the purpose. In 1603, Champlain sailed for the 
St Lawrence in company with a merchant of St Malo named 
Pontgrave, who had had some experience in the country, and 
ascending the river reached the site of Hochelaga, the Indian 
village visited by Cartier nearly seventy years before. Only a few 
wandering Algonquins were met with on the spot, and an attempt 
to pass the rapids above with their aid proved unsuccessful. The 
explorer was fain to content himself with obtaining from his native 
guides some account of the great lakes and rivers which form the 
system of the St Lawrence, and returned to France to find De 
Chastes dead. The enterprise was soon taken up by the Sieur 
de Monts, a Calvinist, who, obtaining the grant of a monopoly 
of the fur trade, sailed from Havre de Grace in April 1604. 
Champlain again joined the expedition, in which another ad- 
venturer, the Baron de Poutrincourt, also took part, while Calvinist 
ministers and Catholic priests swelled the numbers of the party. 
Striking the coast of Nova Scotia, De Monts resolved to proceed 
southwards, and doubling Cape Sable explored the shores of the 
Bay of Fundy, named by the voyagers La Bale Frangoise. An 
islet in a river discovered by Champlain was chosen as the site 
for a colony and named Ste Croix^, while Poutrincourt obtained 
from De Monts the grant of Port Royal, the modern Annapolis 
Basin, as his domain. De Monts's colony was attacked during 
the winter by scurvy, and on the approach of summer (1605) the 
leader sailed with Champlain, who during the previous autumn 
had examined the coasts of Maine, to search for a better site. 
The voyagers followed the coast west and south, examining its 
rivers and harbours, until, after passing Cape Cod, they were forced 
to bring their explorations to an end for that year^. De Monts 

1 Champlain was not the first to entertain this idea, Gomara having made 
a similar proposition in 1552. 

^ The name is now borne by the river, which here forms the boundary 
between the United States and Canada. 

' This coast had been frequented by French fur traders during the previous 


returned to France, whence, in May 1606, Poutrincourt sailed 
again for Port Royal (whither the colony had been moved) with 
a new ally, Marc Lescarbot, to whose pen we owe one of the 
fullest accounts of early French enterprise in America. Further 
attempts made by Poutrincourt were hampered by Jesuit in- 
trigue, and a final blow was struck by the attack of an EngUsh 
vessel acting under the orders of the governor of Virginia, who 
considered the French settlement an invasion of British territory. 

Meanwhile Champlain had once more turned his attention to 
the St Lawrence, whither he was despatched by De Monts in 1608. 
This expedition is memorable for the founding of Quebec, at the 
point where a rocky promontory narrows the St Lawrence to 
a mile, and at the same time affords a site intended by nature for 
a fortress. Here the winter was spent, and on the approach of 
spring (1609) Champlain prepared for a long-meditated journey 
of exploration through the unknown wilds that bordered the river. 
Joining a war-party of the Hurons and Algonquins he made his 
way southwards with two followers up the Richelieu into the 
picturesque lake which now bears his name, and which was thus 
for the first time seen and navigated by a European. Following 
the western shore, the party of Indians soon came upon the 
camp of their enemies, the Iroquois, whose five confederate tribes 
occupied a part of the modern state of New York. The con- 
sternation caused by the French firearms secured the victory for 
Champlain's companions, who thereupon returned to their homes 
on the Ottawa, which they invited the explorer to visit on a future 
occasion. During the two succeeding summers Champlain again 
visited New France, his most important work being the establish- 
ment in 161 1 of a post for trade with the Indians at Mont Royal, 
since known as Montreal. 

Not till 16 13 was Champlain able to resume his explorations, 

century, though little definite knowledge had been gained of its geography. 
It had also been visited in 1602-3 by Gosnold and Pring. It has even been 
held that the French knew the Hudson under the name of Norumbega, and 
had a fort on its banks. Others have considered that the Norumbega was the 
Penobscot. One or other of these streams had been thought to communicate 
with the St Lawrence, while Champlain also heard of a route to the latter by 
the Penobscot. 





but on May 27 of that year he set out with four companions on a 
voyage up the Ottawa, the great northern tributary of the St 
Lawrence. The impulse to this journey was given by the fictitious 
story of an adventurer named Vignan, who had visited the Algon- 
quins and pretended to have discovered a river flowing to the 

Samuel de Champlain. 

northern sea. Struggling against the current of the Ottawa, past 
its turious rapids, and through the tangled forests on its banks, the 
little band of explorers at length reached the settlements of the 
Ottawa branch of the Algonquins near the head of Lake Coulange, 
where, the imposture being discovered, Champlain was forced for 
the time to give up further exploration. His work was resumed 


however in 16 15, when his Indian allies, the Hurons, sought his 
aid against their enemies, the Iroquois, and Champlain again set 
out up the Ottawa to proceed to their country on the great lake 
of the same name. In this journey he was preceded by a few 
days by a Recollet friar, Joseph Le Caron, one of a band of four 
brought from France the same year to evangelise the natives of 
Canada. Passing his turning-point of 161 3, Champlain ascended 
the mountain-girt upper course of the Ottawa to the mouth of its 
tributary, the Mattawa ; then, ascending .this stream, he crossed 
the narrow divide which separates it from Lake Nipissing, and ] 
made his way by this lake and the French River to the great 
Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, the first of the great American series 
to meet the eye of a European. Turning south-eastwards along 
its shores, he seems to have landed near Matchedash Bay, whence 
he reached the Huron towns, finding Le Caron already installed 
there as a teacher. The Huron warriors set out on their meditated 
expedition early in September, and Champlain threaded in their 
company the network of streams and lakes leading to Lake Ontario, 
which was crossed at its eastern end. The attack on the Iroquois 
stronghold was unsuccessful. Champlain was wounded and, fol- 
lowing the Hurons in their retreat, was forced to spend the winter 
with his allies, joining them in their hunting expeditions, in one of 
which he was lost for some days in the woods. His interpreter, 
Etienne Brule, who had previously started on a mission to the 
Eries, south of Lake Ontario, likewise spent the winter among the 
Indians, and in the course of his adventures is even said to have 
descended the Susquehanna to the sea and to have reached the 
shores of Lake Superior. In the following spring Champlain 
returned by the Ottawa route to Quebec and thus terminated his 
exploring labours, the rest of his work being concerned with 
guiding the young colony through a troublous period, during which 
Quebec was taken by an English fleet under David and Thomas 
Kirk (1629), only to be restored to France three years later. 
Champlain again took the command in 1633, but died on 
Christmas Day, 1635, at the age of 68. To him belongs the 
honour of opening the path of discovery in the northern interior 
of North America, where the bounds of knowledge were thence- 
forth slowly but steadily extended 


Before Champlain's death the way had been paved for further 
progress by the introduction of Jesuit missionaries to supplement 
the work of the Franciscans in the conversion of the Indians ; 
and to their adventurous journeys in the fulfilment of their 
vocation an important part of the future exploration of Canada 
was due. In 1634 two of their number, Brdbeuf and Daniel, 
started westward to establish a mission among the Hurons, and 
they were soon followed by a hardy adventurer, Jean Nicollet, 
whose explorations were almost as fertile in discovery as those of 
Champlain himself, under whose orders he acted, and who lived 
long enough to learn the results of his journey, from which he 
returned in 1635. 

During a lengthened residence among the Algonquins and 
Nipissings, Nicollet had become well versed in the art of travel 
through the Canadian wilds, while the stories he had heard among 
the Nipissings of a western people without hair or beards, supposed 
by the French to be Chinese or Japanese, seem to have supplied 
the incentive for his despatch on a more extended journey. 
Proceeding by the usual route to the Georgian Bay and the 
villages of the Hurons, Nicollet obtained guides for his further 
journey from among this tribe, and launching his canoe on the 
lake, reached the Sault Ste Marie at the outlet of Lake Superior. 
He seems to have proceeded no further in the direction of this 
lake but made his way round the projecting point of land which 
divides Lakes Superior and Michigan until he reached the Strait 
of Mackinaw, the connecting channel between the latter lake and 
Lake Huron. Continuing his explorations on Lake Michigan, 
Nicollet advanced to the southern end of Green Bay, where he 
came in contact for the first time with Indians of the Dakota 
stock, represented here by the Winnebagoes. Thence he continued 
his way up the Fox, the river which debouches into Green Bay, 
until he reached the villages of the Mascontins. Beyond this his 
route is uncertain, some holding that he reached the Wisconsin 
and descended it to within three days of the Mississippi, others 
that he went due south to the country of the Iroquois. In either 
case he seems to have returned by the west shore of Lake 
Michigan, where he became acquainted with the Potawattamies, 
a tribe which figures largely in the story of subsequent exploration 

IVJ NORTH AMERICA, 1600-170O 103 

in this region. Thus before Champlain's death, three of the five 
great American lakes had been at least partially explored, though 
the knowledge of the other two, Erie and Superior, remained quite 

Before continuing the story of French discovery in Canada it 
will be well briefly to look at the state of affairs at this time in 
other parts of the Continent. While the French were batding 
against the rigours of the climate on the St Lawrence and in 
Acadia, English settlements had sprung up on the more favoured 
coasts further south. The spirited attempts of Ralegh to found 
a colony in Virginia in 1585 and 1587 had proved a failure, but 
public attention was still directed to North America as a field for 
such enterprises. In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold, sailing under 
the orders of the Earl of Southampton and others, for the first 
time made the direct voyage across the Atlantic to Massachusetts 
Bay, afterwards doubling Cape Cod and obtaining a cargo of 
sassafras root from the natives. The following year Martin Bring 
made a voyage on behalf of the merchants of Bristol, urged 
thereto by Richard Hakluyt, the enthusiastic supporter of 
American colonisation. Reaching the coast of Maine he ex- 
plored its rivers and harbours and then proceeded southwards 
as far as Martha's Vineyard. The Penobscot, the principal river 
of Maine, was explored by Captain Waymouth in 1605. In 1606, 
two companies were formed to carry out the colonisation of 
North America under patents ftom King James, and in 1607 the 
London Company succeeded for the first time in establishing 
a permanent colony in Virginia, at Jamestown, on a river also 
called after King James. The Plymouth Company was less 
successful in a similar enterprise on the Kennebec in Maine, the 
coasts of which had been again explored by Pring in 1606. 

Among the first settlers in Virginia, the most influential was 
John Smith, who, though less than thirty years old, had already 
had a remarkable career of adventure in Europe and North 
Africa. To his energy and hopefulness the success of the 
enterprise was mainly due, and it was his explorations which for 
the first time threw light on the geography of the surrounding 
country. In 1607 he penetrated some distance into the interior 


by way of the Chickahominy, a tributary of York River, but was 
captured by the natives and remained some time a prisoner, 
being only saved by the intervention of Pocahontas, the daughter 
of the Chief Powhattan. The next summer he explored, in an 
open boat, the great inlet known as Chesapeake Bay, noting the 
mouths of the tributary streams, including the Potomac, and pre- 
paring a map of the country, On his return he wrote an account 
of the colony and of his own adventures, which was published in 
London the same year. 

In 1614 Smith joined with some merchants of London and 
made a voyage to the coasts north of the Virginian settlement, 
examining the shores between Cape Cod and the Penobscot, and 
embodying his observations in a map. It was at this time that 
Smith bestowed on the country the name. New England, which 
was destined to attain such renown in the future. He subse- 
quently (1624) wrote a general history of Virginia, New England, 
and the Somers (Bermudas) Islands, afterwards carrying on the 
account to 1629. Before this, a further step in the settlement of 
America had been taken in 1620 by the voyage of the Mayflower, 
carrying the Pilgrim Fathers, when the site of New Plymouth in 
Massachusetts was chosen for a colony, destined shortly to expand 
into a flourishing community. 

In 1632 Lord Baltimore, who had before attempted with little 
success to plant a colony in Newfoundland, obtained from 
Charles I the grant of the country north of Virginia, which he 
named Maryland in honour of the queen, and four years later 
a settlement was made on the shores of the Potomac. Before 
this settlements had also been made — in spite of the rival claims 
of the French — on the coasts of Maine. 

Meanwhile the Dutch, not content with the brilliant results of 
their enterprises in the east, had entered the field as competitors 
of the French and English in America also. In 1609 Henry 
Hudson, the English Arctic navigator, had sailed on behalf of the 
Dutch East India Company in search of a north-east passage. 
Finding the attempt hopeless he turned westwards, and after 
visiting Davis Strait sailed along the coast of America in search 
of a passage to the west. Ever since Verrazzano's time the idea 
had been current t?hat a sea existed to the west of the coasts 



discovered by that navigator, and that this might prove the nearest 
way to China, many subsequent journeys being made with a view 
to reaching it. It is said that Hudson had been induced to 
undertake the search by a communication from John Smith of 
Virginia, who had suggested the possibihty of finding a passage to 
the north of that colony. Hudson entered the river which now 
bears his name, then known as Grande Riviere (the mouth of 
which had been discovered by Verrazzano), and ascended it for 
150 miles, entering into communication with the Mohawks who 
dwelt on its banks. He had before visited the Delaware, and the 
two important streams (Delaware and Hudson) were named by 
the explorer Rivers of the South and North respectively. He 
proposed to call the Hudson the Maurice after the Prince of 
Nassau, Stadhouder of Holland, but his own name was soon 
afterwards applied, and was in time universally accepted as the 
designation of the stream, though the Dutch often called it 
merely De Groote Rivier. The country bordering on the Hudson 
was represented, as early as 16 14, in a map presented to the States 
General of the Netherlands by merchants desiring a charter for 
trade with that region. 

A Dutch post had already (1613) been established at the 
river's mouth, and in 1614 a fort was built on Manhattan Island. 
The Dutch West India Company, incorporated in 1621, founded 
in the following year the city of New Amsterdam (now New 
York), while settlements were also established both at the site of 
Albany on the Hudson and on the Delaware, where for a short 
time the Swedes also had a colony. 

From these various colonies on the Atlantic seaboard the 
bounds of geographical knowledge were gradually pushed towards 
the interior, though with less energy than was shown by the 
French in Canada. The hostility of the native tribes often 
proved a serious obstacle, and it was long before the most 
enterprising of the settlers ventured beyond the Alleghanies. 
Thus it happened that the French in Canada soon completely 
shut in the English and other colonies in their rear, as we shall 
see presently. Still, explorations were carried out within British 
territory, the most important at this time being those of Thomas 
Dermer, who in 1620 sought a passage to the Western Ocean by 


the inlets of the New England coast, and those of Captain 
Thomas Young, who sailed up the Delaware in 1633 in hopes of 
reaching the rumoured interior sea, which, as in the case of 
that supposed in the nineteenth century to exist in Central 
Africa, exercised an important influence on the minds of ex- 

But although the English settlers were behind the French in 
exploring activity in the more southern regions, in the far north, 
bordering on the Arctic wilds. Englishmen (as has already been 
seen in the chapter on the Arctic regions) played a pre- 
ponderating part in pushing back the bounds of the unknown. 
The voyages of the Elizabethan navigators at the end of the 
previous century had brought to light the wide gulf between 
Greenland and the Continent, with many of its inlets — the 
entrance to the vast interior basin of Hudson's Bay having been 
seen by Davis in 1587. In the new century the work was 
continued first by Waymouth, who appears to have passed within 
the entrance in 1602, and afterwards by Henry Hudson, who 
sailed in 16 to (the year following his voyage to the Hudson River) 
on his last and fatal voyage to the bay which has since borne 
his name. The voyages of Button (16 12-13), Bylot and Baffin 
(1615), and of the Dane, Jens Munk (1619-20), did much to 
improve the knowledge of the shores of the bay and of the strait 
leading to it, though they did not finally disprove the existence of 
the supposed passage to the Pacific Ocean. Foxe and James 
however, in 1631-32, showed the extreme improbability that any 
such passage could be found, though they did not absolutely 
dispose of the question. 

This advance of the English to a point so near, comparatively 
speaking, to the French settlements in Canada, was bound to lead 
to rivalry between the < two nations. Some knowledge of the 
interior basin reached the French at an early date, and in 1656 an 
expedition was despatched from Quebec under Jean Bourdon to 
take possession of the country bordering on the bay in the name 
of France. Only 13 years later, after a successful trading voyage 
had been carried out in 1668 under the auspices of Prince 
Rupert, the Hudson Bay Company was incorporated by Charter 

IVJ NORTH AMERICA, 160O-1700 107 

of King Charles I, and a prolonged conflict of jurisdiction between 
the two nations was the natural result'. 

We must now return to the history of exploration in Canada 
after the death of Champlain. Although for some years after 
that event no very important discoveries were made, the bounds 
of knowledge were steadily extended, thanks to the restless energy 
of two very different classes of men — the Jesuit missionaries and 
the fur traders. The latter, in their constant search for new 
collecting grounds for the much-prized beaver skins, led the way 
into distant and hitherto untrodden countries, while the Jesuits 
were hardly, if at all, behind them in opening up new stations 
among the outlying tribes of Indians. More is known of the' 
labours of the Jesuits than of the traders, as their journeys were 
for the most part recorded in the Relations published under the 
auspices of their Order in Paris. In 1641 two of their number, 
Raymbault and Jogues, following in the footsteps of Nicollet, 
reached the Sault Ste Marie, soon to become the base for further 
discovery towards the west. Here they encountered a large body 
of Indians, and from them learnt of the existence of the 
Mississippi (though not by name) and of the Sioux dwelling on 
its banks. In 1642 Jogues was captured by a band of Iroquois 
and taken south by Lake Champlain and its continuation Lake 
George, of which, after his release, he was able to give a more 
correct idea than had before prevailed. The fear inspired by the 
invincible Iroquois confederacy still stood in the way of a better 
knowledge of the two lowest of the Great Lakes, and only after a 
peace had been patched up with them in 1653 was the south 
shore of Ontario explored by Father Poncet, who had undertaken 
the work of evangelisation among that warlike race. 

In the following year Father Le Moyne penetrated farther 
into their country by way of the Oswego River, hearing vague but 
stimulating reports of the countries to the south-west. An 
advance was also made about this time in the work of western 
discovery. In 1654 two traders are said to have visited the 
country beyond Lake Michigan, and in 1658 the field was taken 

1 The exact title of the Company, as employed in its charter, was "The 
Governor and Company of Adventurers of England, trading with Hudson Bay." 


by an enterprising pioneer named Groseilliers, who reached Lake 
Superior, and, returning the following year with his brother-in-law 
Radisson, explored the southern shores of that lake. In their 
further wanderings they may even have reached the Mississippi 
itself. In 1660 GroseilHers was accompanied by a Jesuit named 
Menard, who, after a winter on Lake Superior, started southward 
to seek the scattered Hurons who had fled to this remote district 
after the destruction of their nation by the Iroquois in 1649. 
Menard never returned and his fate is involved in uncertainty. 
In 1665 an important step was taken in the founding of a mission 
station at La Pointe near the west extremity of Lake Superior. 
This was accomplished by Father AUouez, who for the first time 
heard of the great western river as the " Missipi," obtaining also 
vague accounts of the western plains from bands of Sioux with 
whom he came in contact. A few years later Allouez transferred 
his labours to the neighbourhood of Green Bay on Lake Michigan, 
and in 1670 penetrated to the Wisconsin, which, he heard, led to 
the Mississippi, a great river more than a league wide. His place 
had been taken on Lake Superior by Father Marquette, whose 
name occupies an important place in subsequent discovery, and 
who also collected information as to the mysterious countries to 
the south-west, through which he believed the great river to flow 
to the Pacific. 

Meanwhile important changes had taken place in the govern- 
ment of New France, which in 1663 had reverted to the French 
crown. Supported by the great minister Colbert, the new officials, 
especially the Intendant, Talon, displayed much energy in ex- 
tending French influence into the outlying districts. In 1669 
Talon sent Joliet — soon to take a prominent place in the history 
of exploration — to search for the copper mines of Lake Superior. 
Although unsuccessful in his search, Joliet did good work by 
opening up, on his return journey, a new route to the west, via 
Lake Erie and the channel connecting it with Lake Huron. Again, 
in 1 67 1, Talon despatched a great expedition under St Lusson to 
the Sault Ste Marie to take formal possession of the country 
thereabouts in presence of the assembled Indians. With St Lusson 
were associated both Joliet and Nicholas Perrot, the latter one of 
the most enterprising of the French adventurers at the time. 


About the same time explorers were also busy in the districts 
bordering on the colony to the north. In 1660 Fathers Dablon 
and Druillettes' had reached the sources of the Saguenay, while 
much further west Groseilliers and Radisson had reached Lake 
Nipigon, and one of their followers named F6r6'^ had crossed the 
divide separating Lake Superior from Hudson Bay. 

Subsequent differences with the authorities induced Groseilliers 
to enter into association with the English, and in 1664 and 1668 
he made voyages with Captain Gillam to Hudson Bay, the pro- 
mising results of which led to the foundation of the . Hudson 
Bay Company. In 1671 Talon entrusted Father Albanel with 
a mission to the north by way of the Saguenay, and in 1672 the 
Jesuit reached the shores of the northern basin, which were taken 
over in the name of the French king. 

But already a new actor had appeared on the scene, who 
though relying mainly on his own resources was to surpass the 
achievements of all his contemporaries. This was Robert 
Cavelier de la Salle, who in 1666 reached Canada, bent on 
seeking his fortune. His elder brother was already in the country, 
and the seminary of St Sulpice, to which he belonged, was at the 
time in possession of seignioral rights over Montreal and the lands 
in its neighbourhood. The future explorer obtained from the 
seminary the grant of a large tract of land at La Chine, a few 
miles from Montreal. While resident here his enthusiasm was 
excited by stories brought by Indians of the unexplored lands to 
the south-west, and he resolved to undertake an exploring journey 
in that direction. Having sold his concession at La Chine, La 
Salle started in 1669 in company with the Sulpicians, Dollier and 
Galiv^e, and, navigating Lake Ontario, reached the Niagara river, 
where they heard for the first time the roar of the great cataract. 
Meeting with Joliet on his way from the Upper Lakes, the priests 
were induced to take a route in that direction, while La Salle, 
whose thoughts were turned towards the south, determined to 

' Draillettes had already (1651) come into notice as envoy from the 
French to the English at Boston, whither h6 had journeyed down one or other 
of the rivers of Maine. 

2 Pere also accompanied Joliet in his expedition to Lake Superior in 


carry out his explorations separately. The priests reached the 
Sault Ste Marie by Joliet's route, but returned by the Ottawa, 
the principal result of the journey being the improved knowledge 
of Lake Erie, and its position in the great Laurentian system, 
supplied by Galivee's journal and map. La Salle's proceedings 
after he left the priests are involved in much obscurity, and have 
been the subject of conflicting views on the part of historians. 
On the authority of a somewhat questionable document it has 
been claimed that either in 1669-70 or in 1671 he actually 
reached the Mississippi, but this is almost certainly incorrect. It 
seems probable that the traveller discovered the Ohio in 1669 
and descended it for some distance, perhaps to the rapids at 
Louisville. It may also be the case that in 1671 he explored 
the southern part of Lake Michigan and reached the Illinois. 
That he reached the Mississippi on this occasion is negatived by 
the absence of all claim to this discovery on his behalf until some 
years after the authenticated journey of Marquette and Joliet, 
with which we have now to deal. 

The energetic Talon was recalled soon after the arrival of the 
Comte de Frontenac as Governor in 1672. Before his departure 
he had entrusted to Joliet the work of discovering the great 
western river of which so much had been heard, and tracing it to 
its mouth either in the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean. 
The new governor lent his support to the proposed expedition, 
which started in the summer of 1672, proceeding first to the 
Strait of Mackinaw (then known as Michillimackinac) at the 
entrance to Lake Michigan. Here he was joined by the Jesuit 
Marquette, who had for two years been in charge of a mission 
station on the north side of the strait. On reaching the head of 
Green Bay the two explorers ascended the Fox past Lake 
Winnebago and, obtaining guides from the Mi'amis, crossed the 
divide and reached the waters of the Wisconsin. Floating down 
this stream they reached the Mississippi in a week, and the great 
stream which had been the subject of so many speculations was 
at last seen by Europeans. Passing on through an uninhabited 
tract, they reached the ^reat prairies roamed over by herds of 
"buffalo." Still floating down the great river they entered into 
friendly relations with the Illinois, passed the river of the 


same name, and soon afterwards the rocky cliffs then decorated 
with painted monsters representing the Indian gods. The 
farthest point reached was near the mouth of the Arkansas, where 
they narrowly escaped an attack from the tribe of that name. 
Hence they retraced their course, having done enough to prove 
that the great river must enter the Gulf of Mexico, though many 
miles of its winding channel still lay between them and its mouth. 
Ascending the Illinois the voyagers crossed over to the south end 
of Lake Michigan and reached Green Bay at the end of September, 

Although much weakened by dysentery, Marquette returned 
in 1674 to the Illinois to establish a mission on its banks, but 
succumbed to his malady on the shores of Lake Michigan when 
retracing his steps in 1675. Joliet subsequently did good work 
in other directions, journeying to Hudson Bay in 1679, and while 
engaged in the fisheries acquiring a close knowledge of the 
St Lawrence and the coasts of Labrador, which gained him the 
post of Royal pilot and hydrographer. 

To Joliet and Marquette belongs the merit of the first 
discovery of the Mississippi, but the opening up of its valley to 
French enterprise was due to the ambitious and far-sighted views 
of La Salle, who saw in these vast and fertile regions a field far 
surpassing in promise the frost-bound shores of the St Lawrence. 

Thwarted throughout by the jealousy and dislike of his fellow 
colonists, La Salle found a supporter in the Governor Frontenac, 
himself far from popular in the colony. A fort having been 
established by the governor on Lake Ontario, La Salle obtained 
a grant of the fort and the surrounding lands, and thus secured 
to himself the important trade which it commanded. Here he 
matured his schemes, which aimed at nothing less than the 
colonisation of the fertile plains of the Mississippi valley, and the 
conversion of the Indian tribes and their transformation into 
peaceful subjects of the French crown. Obtaining a patent from 
the king, by which he was authorised to continue his discoveries 
towards the south, and to secure the country explored by the 
construction of forts, La Salle obtained the co-operation of an 
Italian officer then in France named Henri de Tonty, whose 
unswerving loyalty proved of priceless value amid the general 


opposition and treachery which beset the enterprise. Another 
coadjutor who played a prominent part in it and became the 
chronicler of the expedition was the Recollet friar Louis Henne- 
pin, a Fleming by birth, who, already stationed at Fort Frontenac, 
now obtained permission to accompany the expedition. Hennepin^ 
though not lacking in courage, was of a vain and boastful dis- 
position, and grave doubts exist as to the trustworthiness of his 
account, which is, however, of some value as supplementing the 
other records. 

With the aid of his associates — one of whom. La Motte by 
name, took part in the early stages only of the expedition — La 
Salle in the autumn of 1678 transported his supplies to the 
Niagara river, where a fort was established and a small vessel built 
above the cataract, of which a minute account is given for the 
first time in Hennepin's journal. After a winter of great hard- 
ship the vessel — named the Griffin, in allusion to the arms of 
Frontenac — was ready for launching, and the navigation of the 
upper lakes began. 

The party had now been increased by the arrival of two 
more Recollet friars. Fathers Membre and Ribourde. Harassed 
by intrigue and desertions, as well as by anxiety in regard to 
his creditors in the colony. La Salle slowly made his way past 
the Strait of Mackinaw and along the shores of Lake Michigan, 
encountering constant storms, and meeting with some difficulties 
from the Indians. The Griffin had meanwhile been sent back 
with a cargo of furs, while Tonty, who had been sent to the 
Sault Ste Marie, only arrived after much delay at the fort of the 
Mi'amis built by La Salle at the mouth of the St Joseph. It was 
not till December, 1679, that a start could be made up the 
St Joseph for the portage to the Kankakee, down which river the 
voyage was pursued to the Illinois, until an encampment of that 
nation was reached. Still pursued by intrigue and desertion, and 
threatened with ruin by the loss of the Griffin either by storm or 
treachery, La Salle returned for fresh succour, leaving his small 
force under Tonty with instructions to commence the building 
of another vessel at a newly-constructed fort which he named 
Crfevecoeur in token of the low ebb of his fortunes. 

After a winter journey of incredible hardships La Salle reached 




the French settlements and raised funds for the renewal of his 
undertaking, only to learn of the desertion of the greater part of 
the men left with Tonty. That officer with two or three faithful 
followers became involved in an invasion of the Illinois country 
by the Iroquois, and only after great sufferings made their way 
back by the west shores of Michigan, just when La Salle was 
bringing aid to them by the opposite side. After a vain search 
for his followers, during which the Illinois was descended to the 
Mississippi, La Salle wintered at Fort Mi'ami, engaged in the 

The Bison as figured by Hennepin. 

(From his Nouvelle Dicouverte of 1697.) 

re-organisation of his enterprise, which had now to start afresh 
from the beginning. Meanwhile Hennepin, who with two com- 
panions, Accault and Du Gay, had been despatched from Fort 
Crfevecoeur on an exploring trip down the Illinois, had ascended 
the Upper Mississippi and undergone many adventures among 
the Sioux, by whom he was captured. The exact extent of his 
journeys cannot be determined owing to the suspicion which 
attaches to his veracity. In a second edition of his work, 
H. 8 


published after La Salle's death, he made the fraudulent claim to 

the discovery of the whole Mississippi to the sea, but his pretended 

•descriptions are known to have been borrowed from the journal 

! of Father Membre, who accompanied La Salle on his successful 

I journey of 1681. While on the Upper Mississippi Hennepin fell 

in with an enterprising French pioneer, Du Luth (or Du Lhut) by 

^ name, who had for two years been exploring near the head of 

Lake Superior and the head-waters of the Mississippi. He had 

thus preceded Hennepin in his visit to the Sioux towns, and it is 

apparently from one of his companions that Lake Pepin derives 

its name. In his company Hennepin made his way to Green 

Bay and Mackinac, and thence to Montreal, his connection with 

La Salle now finally ceasing. 

Having guarded against danger from the Iroquois by forming 
a defensive alliance between the Mi'amis and Illinois, I,a Salle 
returned to Canada to complete his arrangements for a final 
attempt to descend the Mississippi to the sea. At Mackinac he 
met with Tonty and Membrd, who again joined him, whereupon, 
j in December 1681, the re-organised expedition once more set out 
j from Fort Mi'ami, and, descending the Illinois in canoes, entered 
the Mississippi in the following February. Floating on past the 
mouth of the turbid Missouri, the explorers, this time blessed with 
better fortune, soon reached the Ohio, and on March 13 heard, 
through the fog which enveloped the stream, the war drums of 
the Arkansas tribe near the river which now bears their name. 
Friendly relations were however established and the voyagers 
passed on, visiting the great town of the Taensas and meeting 
with, a cordial reception from other riverine tribes. Avoiding 
a hostile demonstration of the Quinipissas, on April 6 they 
reached the beginning of the great delta, and, dividing their forces, 
descended the three main channels into which the river divided, 
uniting again on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Here 
a ceremony was enacted by which La Salle took possession of 
the whole Mississippi valley in the name of the French king, 
I in honour of whom the vast region received the name of 

I A great triumph had been won, but a toilsome voyage up the 
great river still awaited the explorers. During this some fighting 


occurred, and the leader was prostrated by illness, but travelling 
by slow degrees was able to reach Mackinac before the end of 
September. In order to develop the resources of his new domain 
La Salle proposed to found two colonies, one on the Illinois as 
a centre of the fur trade of that region, and one at the mouth of 
the Mississippi to secure an outlet in that direction. The former 
first engaged his attention, and a fort was built on a rock over- 
hanging the Illinois, which received the name of Fort St Louis ; 
around it a large body of Indians soon assembled, seeking 
protection against the Iroquois foe. 

During La Salle's absence a new governor — La Barre — had 
arrived in Canada, and the explorer soon found cause to lament 
the loss of his protector Frontenac. Thwarted on all hands he 
returned to France, and finding favour at court, obtained the 
support of the king for a new enterprise on the Gulf of Mexico. 
By undertaking to break the Spanish monopoly on the waters of 
the gulf he secured the equipment of an expedition of four ships, 
two of them manned with a force of soldiers and a body of colonists 
and artificers. Three Recollet friars, Membre, Douay, and Le 
Clerc, joined the expedition, as well as La Salle's brother already 
alluded to and two other Sulpicians. The command of the vessels 
was given to a naval officer, Beaujeu, an unfortunate decision, 
as the divided command soon led to friction which boded ill for 
the success of the enterprise. Misfortunes indeed pursued the 
adventurers from the outset. Delays occurred in the prepara- 
tions, and when in July, 1684, the expedition sailed, disputes soon 
broke out between the commanders. During the stay in the 
West Indies, La Salle was seized with severe illness, which for 
a time totally incapacitated him. Arrived at length in the gulf, 
a search was made in vain for the mouth of the Mississippi, of 
the longitude of which La Salle was ignorant. By an unfortunate 
mistake he landed his men among the lagoons on the north- 
western shore of the gulf, over 400 miles from the object of his 
search, while to add to his distress the ship laden with all the 
stores for the colony was wrecked on attempting to enter a 
neighbouring bay. 

A temporary station was established, but disaster still attended 
the party. The natives were hostile, the crops soon proved 


a failure, and the one small vessel which remained to La Salle 
after the departure of Beaujeu suffered the fate of the store-ship. 
Returning to the temporary fort after a vain attempt to make his 
way overland to the Mississippi, the leader formed the desperate 
resolution of leading his party overland to Canada, leaving a few- 
men only to represent him on the gulf. Crossing the prairies,, 
roamed over by herds of buffalo, which occupy the basins of the 
Brazos, Trinity, and other Texan streams, the expedition had not 
yet passed into the Mississippi valley, when a tragedy occurred 
which finally broke up the ill-starred expedition. Discontent had 
for some time prevailed in the party, and it reached a climax 
(March, 1687) in the murder, first of La Salle's nephew Moranget 
and two subordinates, and finally of La Salle himself. The loyal 
remnant of the party now consisted only of Joutel, a gardener's 
son, who had throughout shown himself one of the leader's most 
efficient and trusty lieutenants, with two priests and three youths,, 
one of whom was nephew to La Salle. These were helpless to 
avenge the murders, but, after some time had been spent among 
the Cenis Indians, the ringleaders fell at the hands of their own 
followers and Joutel was able to make his way with a small party 
to the Arkansas, where he met with two of Tonty's subordinates, 
left by that officer during a descent of the Mississippi in search 
of his missing chief. Tonty had even reached the mouth of the 
great river a second time while La Salle was engaged in his weary 
search for it on the plains of Texas. Joutel now made his way 
with his companions to the fort on the Illinois (1687), and it is 
to his pen that we owe the best account of the fatal expedition. 
The memoirs published by Tonty are a valuable authority for 
both of La Salle's expeditions in which he took part, while the 
results of the discoveries are well shown on the great map of 
Franquelin, hydrographer at Quebec, published in 1684. 

Two expeditions, undertaken about the time of La Salle's, 
death, deserve mention. The one, led by Nicholas Perrot, some- 
what extended the bounds of knowledge in the region of the 
Upper Mississippi, the other, under De Troyes and Iberville, was. 
directed against the English on the shores of Hudson Bay.. 
Iberville was soon to take a prominent place in the history of the 
French in America. 


La Salle's death forms a fitting conclusion to the first great 
period of geographical discovery in the interior of North America. 
Although some have tried to disparage his services, while his 
proud and reserved nature in some degree unfitted him to be 
a successful leader of men, there can be nothing but admiration 
for the indomitable will which helped him to persevere in the face 
of untold difficulties in the task which he had set himself. 
Although not crowned with success during his lifetime, his 
schemes had far-reaching effects on the future of the Mississippi 
basin, where his steps were soon followed by his compatriots, and 
where, for a time at least, French influence was secure from the 
encroachments of rivals. The period which now ensued — ushered 
in by the revolution in England- — was marked by political rivalries 
with that nation and gave little scope for great pioneering journeys, 
so that the vast regions of the far west were not thrown open till 
a much later date. 

Throughout the century now closing, the brilliant geographical 
achievements in North America were all the work of Frenchmen. 
For the very reason which made them more successful as colonists, 
the English settlers were less given to the wandering life which 
carried the French fur-traders into the remote wilds of the 
continent ; and though attempts have been made to prove that 
English explorers entered the Mississippi basin at an early date, 
the accounts of their journeys rest on too insecure a basis to be 
definitely accepted as facts. 



As in other parts of the world, so in Northern and Central 
Asia, the opening of the seventeenth century marks the beginning 
of a rapid advance in geographical knowledge ; an advance so 
effectual that, before the century closed, the geography of the 
whole northern zone of the continent, till then wrapped in almost 
complete obscurity, was already known in its broad outlines. 
Even the history of American discovery records no instance of 
an equally vast land area brought to light within so short a space 
of time, while the physical obstacles encountered add to the 
greatness of the achievement, and to our wonder at the hardi- 
hood of the agents by whom it was performed. It is all the 
more striking that in the whole story of early Siberian discovery 
no one name stands out as worthy of a place in the roll of the 
world's great explorers, but that the work was mainly accom- 
plished by a host of obscure adventurers, who, in the ardent 
pursuit of the fur-trade, or in the role of freebooters, added a 
new empire to the dominions of the Russian Czar. 

It was, however, considerably before the end of the sixteenth 
century that a knowledge of Western Siberia began to be acquired 
by those of the Russians whose attention was turned in this 
direction. Even in the eleventh century some of the bolder 
spirits had pushed beyond the Ural, reaching the lower Ob early 
in the twelfth. A fairly continuous intercourse with this region 
was thenceforth maintained, and during the fifteenth century 
raids of a quasi-military character strengthened the connection 
still further. During the sixteenth century the commercial enter- 
prise of the Strogonoffs directed attention to this quarter, and the 


maps of Miinster and Herberstein, with the commentaries of the 
latter, show that some accurate knowledge had already been 
gained ^ In 1556 troops were sent across the Urals by Ivan the 
Terrible, who two years later took the title of " Lord of Obdoria 
Ugria and Sibir^" It was, however, the campaign of the famous 
Cossack leader Yermak Timofeief which first prepared the way 
for permanent occupation. During this campaign (1579-1582) 
Sibir, then the residence of the Tartar chief Kuchum Khan, 
was taken, and though Yermak soon afterwards perished, his 
conquests were prosecuted by the Russian government. In '-iS&tD 
the fortress of Tobolsk was erected a few miles from the site 
of Sibir, and this became the capital of the Russian Asiatic 
dominions, which now extended to the Ob. Thus before the 
close of the^sixteenth century the Czar had already established 
a firm footing east of the Urals. 

Little resistance was now encountered in the further advance 
eastward, which took place with extreme rapidity. In 1604 
Tomsk was founded, and expeditions were pushed forward from 
this as a base. Meanwhile the fur-traders, who directed their 
attention chiefly to the more northern regions, were pushing 
beyond the lower Ob, discovering the Taz, and in 16 10 reaching 
the Yenesei, where the town of Turukhansk was soon afterwards 
founded. The Yenesei was soon passed and the Piasina dis- 
covered ; the whole coast of Asia as far as the latter river being 
shown on the map of Isaac Massa published in Holland in 
1612. An attempt to advance eastward by sea from the Yenesei 
mouth having- failed, a more southerly route was adopted by 
way of the Lower Tunguska, which led the adventurers into the 
Lena basin. At the same time a second line of advance brought 
the Cossacks from Tomsk to the Upper Yenesei, where Yeneseisk 
was founded in 1619 and Krasnoiarsk in 1627. On reaching 

1 Herberstein's map of 1550 marks the "Oby" with a river "Sibur" as 
its tributary. The details are of course inaccurate, e.g: the Ob is made to 
issue from a lake Kythay, near a city Chumbalyk, derived apparently from the 
accounts of the medieval travellers to China. The Samoyedes, vifho are 
mentioned in Herberstein's account, had already figured in Waldseemliller's 
map of 1516. 

^ Sibir, from which the whole of northern Asia was eventually named, was 
a fort near the junction of the Tobol with the Irtish. 


the Angara the Russian pioneers met with some resistance from 
the warlike Buriats, but this was overcome, and the shores of 
Lake Baikal were for the first time trodden by European foot. 
The Lena basin was approached from this direction also, and 
before long the adventurous hunters had extended their operations 
over a large part of its area, levying tribute, as was their wont, 
from the native tribes with which they came in contact. In this 
direction they encountered the Yakuts, who had already fallen 
back before the Buriats from their original home hear Lake Baikal, 
and who now, unable to withstand the Russian freebooters, 
continued their northward migration towards the shores of the 
Arctic ocean. In 1632 the town of Yakutsk, now the capital 
of the largest province of the Russian Empire, was founded in 
the Yakut territory, and became the base for further explorations 
towards the north and east. In 161 7 the Cossack Elisei Busa 
reached an arm of the Lena delta, and turning westward, dis- 
covered the Olenek, where he wintered. The following year he 
returned to the Lena, which he descended in boats to the sea. 
He then followed the coast eastward to the mouth of the Yana, 
which river he ascended for some distance, continuing his ex- 
plorations in this region for over two years. 

Meanwhile others had pushed on eastward from Yakutsk, 
crossing the range which bounds the Lena basin to the east, and 
descending its eastern slopes to the sea of Okhotsk, where in 
1638 a station was founded on the site of the modern town of 
Okhotsk. The whole breadth of the continent had thus been 
crossed in httle over half a century -since the capture of Sibir 
by Yermak. Further north the Indigirka was discovered by 
Ivanof Postnik, whose followers built boats and traced the 
river downwards to its mouth, afterwards continuing their course 
eastward to the Alaseya. About the same time the Kolyma, 
the last important river of the northern Asiatic coast, was dis- 
covered, and on its banks a station was founded in 1644 by 
Mikhailo Stadukhin on the site of Nijne Kolymsk. Stadukhin 
heard here for the first time of the Chukches, who inhabit the 
remote north-eastern corner of Asia, and seems also to have 
gained some intelligence of the New Siberian Islands and 
Wrangel Land, though the two were confounded. Another great 

V] NORTHERN AND CENTRAL ASIA, 1 600- 1 750 121 

river was said to enter the sea further east, but this proved 
eventually to have an easterly and not a northerly course. The 
Chukches were visited in 1646 by Isai Ignatief, and in the 
following year an expedition was prepared on a more important 
scale and placed under the command of Feodot Alexeief. It 
proved unsuccessful, but is noteworthy from the fact that in it 
took part the Cossack Simeon Deshnef, who though long un- 
known to fame, in course of time acquired some celebrity as the 
first (if his claim is to be believed) actually to prove the existence 
of a strait between Asia and America. 

The history of the notions then current with respect to 
such a strait deserves some attention. During the greater part 
of the fifteenth century one of the problems which chiefly 
exercised the minds of geographers was the so-called Strait of 
Anian, supposed in some way to connect the Atlantic and 
Pacific, though the origin of the name is lost in obscurity. The 
idea is said to date from the voyage of Cortereal to Labrador 
in 1500, which seemed to indicate the existence of a passage 
to the north of America. But it is remarkable that none of 
the early maps place the strait of Anian in this locality, but 
in the position of Bering Strait as now known. It appears thus 
in the map of Zaltieri (1566) and in various other maps, some 
anonymous, of the latter half of the same century, including 
that of Frobisher (1578). Anian also appears as the name of 
the country on one or the other side of the strait. The dis- 
covery of such a passage more than once engaged the attention 
of the Spanish authorities in Mexico, and was the principal 
motive of the voyage of Vizcaino in 1596. A note on the 
famous map of 1600 ascribed to Edward Wright throws doubt 
on the existence of any narrow strait, the voyage of Francisco 
de Gali in 1583 having been supposed to show that its place 
was occupied by a wide sea. After the voyage of Martin Vries 
described in the third chapter, the Dutch believed in the existence 
of a large land (Compagnies Landt) to the east of Yezo, 
occupying a large part of the Pacific north of 40° ; but the strait 
of Anian still appeared in some maps as separating this land 
from America, the strait on the western side being named after 
Vries. These ideas continued to hold their own for many 


years after the date of the Russian voyage now to be described, 
the results of which long remained unnoticed by the rest of the 
world. Those results were indeed not incompatible with the old 
notions, as Compagnies Landt might have lain entirely to the 
east of the seas navigated by Deshnef 

As stated above, the first attempt at exploration, in 1647, 
was unsuccessful, but in the following year a new expedition, 
originally consisting of seven boats, was fitted out, three of the 
boats, which alone persevered in the enterprise, being com- 
manded respectively by Deshnef, Alexeief, and another Cossack 
named Ankudinof^. The mouth of the Kolyma was left in June, 
and an easterly course steered until the eastern extremity of 
Asia had been rounded. This seems to have been the great cape 
of the Chukches (Chukutskoi-nos) of Deshnef, though the name 
is now more usually applied to the point at the north-eastern 
extremity of the gulf of Anadyr ■'^- Two islands lay off the Cape, 
which pointed between north and north-east, while beyond it the 
coast was rounded off towards the Anadyr- — the principal object 
of search on the part of the expedition. Hereabouts Ankudinof's 
boat was wrecked, the crews being distributed between the other 
boats, which afterwards became separated. That of Deshnef was 
driven about by contrary winds until it was finally cast ashore 
at the mouth of the Olutorsk, near the northern extremity of 
Kamchatka. Hence the Cossack and his men made their way 
overland to the Anadyr, where they wintered, founding a station 
on the site of the future Anadyrsk. This remained their head- 
quarters for several years, during which other parties arrived from 
the Kolyma, the chief men among them being Simeon Motora, 
Stadukhin^ and Selivestrof. The Anadyr region was thus more 
or less thoroughly explored, while the natives after some fighting 
were compelled to pay tribute. The fate of the rest of the party 

1 The account of the voyage brought to light in the i8th century by 
G. F. Mliller (see p. 261 infra) is here followed; but it should be noted that 
the trustworthiness of this has been questioned [Geog. Jourtial, Vol. 36, p. 8i). 

^ The eastern point of Asia, long known as East Cape, was in 1898 
renamed Cape Deshnef, in honour of the old Cossack voyager. 

^ Stadukhin had previously (1647-49) sought for the Anadyr along the 
northern coast of Siberia, but only advanced seven days' journey beyond 
the mouth of the Kolyma. 


which had rounded the eastern extremity of Asia with Deshnef 
is involved in uncertainty. According- to intelligence obtained 
by Deshnef among the Koriaks, many died either from disease 
or at the hands of the natives, but some escaped in their boats. 
A tradition was afterwards current in Kamchatka that some of the 
party had reached that country and even doubled its southern 
point. If this was really the case, they preceded by almost fifty 
years the eventual conqueror of Kamchatka, Vladimir Atlassof. 

As a result of these various voyages the coasts of Siberia east 
of the Lena were now known almost throughout their whole 
extent, and the few remaining gaps were soon filled up^ From 
the Lena to the Kolyma the coasts were much frequented by 
traders in their "kotches" or flat-bottomed boats. The sea route 
to the Anadyr taken by Deshnef was not used, however, after the 
discovery of the shorter overland passage. West of the Lena 
the coast was little explored until the next century. 

While the adventurous hunters and traders were thus pushing 
their explorations towards the extreme north-east, others were 
extending the bounds of knowledge in the south-east of Siberia 
also, with the result that in less than fifty years the general 
features of the Amur system became known, while settlements 
sprang up at various points. In 1639 a party of Cossacks 
built a station on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, near the 
mouth of the Ulya, and gained from the Tunguses some intelli- 
gence respecting the countries to the south. Reports of the 
Shilka, one of the upper branches of the Amur, were also heard 
by a party which reached the Vitim during the same year. To 
discover this river an expedition was despatched from Yakutsk 
in 1643 under the command of a Cossack named Poyarkof, 
who ascended the Aldan and its southern feeders the Uchur 
and Konam, leaving a part of his men in winter quarters on 
the north side of the divide, while with the rest he crossed 
the mountains and reached the Brianta, a tributary of the Zeya. 
Pushing on down this stream Poyarkof encountered a Tungus 

1 Sviatoi cape, the nearest point to the New Siberian Islands, seems to 
have been first rounded in 1650 by Andrei Goreloi, but the island opposite 
(Liakhof) is not known to have been visited until some years later. Reference 
may be made to the sketch-maps in Chapter x. 


tribe, and afterwai^^^^^k) a Daurian village at the mouth 
of the Umlekan. 'I^^^^^Hs ran short, while the overbearing 
conduct of the Russ^^led to fights with the natives, and only 
half the advance guard remained alive when help was brought 
by the party left on the Konam. The journey down the Zeya 
was now continued, and in five days the Amur was reached. 
Descending in turn the main stream of the Amur, Poyarkof 
passed the Zungari and the territory of the Natki, reaching the 
mouth of the Amur after a voyage of nearly three months. Here 

Sketch-map of the Upper Amur Region. 

he wintered, and during the summer of 1645 made his way by sea 
to the mouth of the Ulya, not reaching Yakutsk till June 1646. 
The last of the great Siberian rivers had thus been discovered and 
navigated for nearly half its length. The Russian discoveries 
from the west had also approached within a short distance of 
those of the Dutch from the south, though it was some time 
longer before a connecting link was established between the work 
of the two nations. 

The route followed by Poyarkof was long and difficult, but 
information was soon obtained of a better way by the Olekma, 


whose upper basin closely approad^^^^^^f the Shilka. In 
1648 a small party entered the Uppi^^^^^Kin by way of the 
Urka, striking the main river a little belo^Wat tributary's mouth. 
Here they obtained intelligence of a chief named Lavkai, whose 
fame had already reached the Russian authorities from other 
directions. In 1649 an adventurer named Khabarof undertook 
a new expedition, which wintered on the Tungir, one of the 
upper branches of the Olekma, and proceeded onwards towards 
the Amur in January, 1650, the divide being crossed on sledges. 
On reaching Lavkai's country negociations were carried on un- 
successfully with the Daurians, who fled, abandoning their forts. 
Leaving the greater number of his men here, Khabarof returned 
to Yakutsk for reinforcements, with which he again reached the 
Daurian country in 165 1. In June he set out on a voyage down 
the Amur, capturing en route an important Daurian strongholds- 
After an attack on a Daurian village below the mouth of the Zeya, 
the chiefs acknowledged the Czar's authority, but, the people 
soon deserting their village, a forward move was necessary. 
Passing down the river to the territory of the Achani (the Natki 
of Poyarkof) Khabarof decided to go into winter quarters. Here 
again the exactions of the Russians led to fighting, in which the 
natives were aided, but to no purpose, by the Manchus. In the 
following spring Khabarof reascended the Amur, and after passing 
the defile of the Bureya mountains met with reinforcements under 
Chechegin and Petrillofskoi. But a mutiny among his men 
put a check on his schemes of conquest, and all that he could 
effect was the occupation of a post above the mouth of the Zeya, 
subsequently known as Kumarsk from the stream which there 
enters the Amur. On his reascent of the Amur from the Achani 
country Khabarof had missed a party of men descending to meet 
him under one Nagiba, who continued his journey to the mouth 
of the Amur, defeating the Giliaks who opposed him, and, 
after various adventures on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, 
eventually made his way overland to the Aldan and thence to 

So far the work had been left to irresponsible adventurers 

s The tribes on the Amur acknowledged in some measure the authority of 
the Manchus who now reigned in China. 


whose brutality towards the natives had ruined the prospects of 
peaceful settlement. The government now resolved to intervene, 
and in 1652 despatched Dmitri Simoviof to prepare the way 
for further explorations by way of the Olekma and Tungir. In 
1653 he arrived on the Amur, sending Khabarof to Moscow to 
report to the Czar, while future operations were entrusted to 
Onufrei Stepanof. This officer visited various parts of the Amur, 
and on one occasion ascended the Zungari for three days, but 
did not effect much. Establishing himself at Kumarsk for the 
winter of 1654-55, he was besieged by a large Chinese army, 
which however at last withdrew. Subsequently Stepanof was 
joined by a force under Feodor Pushkin, which had established a 
post at the mouth of the Argun (Upper Amur), and the two 
commanders went to the lower river, where they built a fort in the 
Giliak country. Stepanof was slain in 1658 in a great battle 
with the Manchus near the mouth of the Zungari, and the greater 
part of the Amur basin was for a time withdrawn from Russian 

Before this, however, other explorations had been effected in 
the upper basin of the river, where parties from Yeneseisk had 
reached the Shilka. In 1652 an expedition under the Cossack 
Beketof, with Maximof as lieutenant, crossed Lake Baikal, and 
after wintering at the mouth of the Selenga, ascended that stream 
to the Khilok and Lake Ilgen. In 1654 the divide was crossed 
to the Ingoda, and the latter river descended to the Shilka, a fort 
being built opposite the mouth of the Nercha. But things soon 
went badly, and Beketof, with a part of his men, was forced to 
join Stepanof on the lower Amur. In 1656 a new expedition 
under Pashkof started from Yeneseisk, following in Beketofs 
steps, but not reaching the Shilka till early in 1658. The town 
of Nerchinsk was founded at the mouth of the Nercha, and 
though Pashkof met with no great success in his endeavours to 
establish Russian authority, the town in time acquired some 
importance under his successors. In 1669 a band of adventurers 
under a Polish exile Chernigofski reached the Amur by way of the 
Tungir, and founded a settlement at Albazin opposite the mouth 
of the Albazikha, which enters the Amur from the south a little 
below the junction of the Shilka and Argun. Albazin soon 


became the most important Russian settlement in the Amur 
region, cultivation being carried on with some success. In the 
region of the Zeya also, stations soon sprang up, including one 
at Aigun a little below that river's mouth, and in 1681 the 
country in this direction was further explored by Ignati Milo- 
vanof, who soon afterwards established, by order of the government, 
a fortified post at SeHmbinsk on the Selimja (Silinji) river. About 
this time two of the northern tributaries of the lower Amur, 
the Bureya and Amgun, came within the sphere of Russian 
activity, and a station was founded on the latter by Gavrilo 
Feolof. Thus, after various fluctuations, Russian supremacy 
seemed at last established over the whole northern and central 
basin of the Amur, but it was not destined to last long. 

As has been already mentioned, the Manchu rulers of China 
claimed a sort of jurisdiction over the tribes of the Amur basin, 
and, being now represented by the great Emperor Kang-hi, were 
not disposed to look quietly on at these proceedings of the 
Russians. As early as 1653, after the first collision with the 
Manchus, a Russian envoy had been despatched to Peking to 
come to some arrangement, but was slain on the way by his 
guides. In 1676, however, an embassy headed by Nicolas 
Spafarik, a Greek, succeeded in making its way across Manchuria 
to Peking by way of Tsitsikhar, and as a result of the negotiations 
orders had been given to the authorities on the Amur to abstain 
from action on the lower river ; but they had remained a dead 
letter. The Chinese now resolved to eject the Russians by force, 
and soon drove them from the lower river, while in 1684 the 
garrison of Albazin was forced after a siege to evacuate the place. 
Its reoccupation was followed by a second siege, but meanwhile 
negotiations were commenced, which finally resulted in the 
evacuation by Russia, for over a century and a half, of the whole 
eastern part of the Amur basin. The treaty by which this was 
arranged was negotiated at Nerchinsk, where, in 1689, the Russian 
envoy Golovin met the Chinese plenipotentiaries, accompanied 
as interpreters by the Jesuits, Gerbillon and Pereyra. Of the 
extensive travels of Gerbillon we shall speak in a subsequent 

Three years later (1692), an embassy was despatched by the 


Czar to the Emperor of China by way of Siberia and Manchuria. 
The envoy, Everard Ysbrantz Ides, who was a Dane by birth, 
subsequently wrote an account of his travels, which found a place 
in several of the old collections, and thus did much to spread 
a knowledge of the newly-acquired possessions of the Russian 
crown. Ides describes the Ostiaks, Tunguses, Buriats, and other 
peoples of Siberia, besides giving particulars respecting the 
country. In speaking of the mammoth — which some of the 
natives believed to live underground, though the Russians re- 
garded it as an antediluvian inhabitant of the country — he gives 
a good description of the breaking up of the ice in the Siberian 
rivers, by which the banks are washed away, and the carcases 
exposed. The embassy travelled vi& Irkutsk (recently rebuilt 
and already becoming a town of some importance) to Nerchinsk, 
and thence through Manchuria to Peking. From Nerchinsk the 
route led first to the Argun, where the Russians had a fort, and 
then across the mountains to the valleys of the Yalo and Nonni, 
thus just missing Tsitsikhar. Ides was the first European traveller 
to give an account of this country, though the southern part of 
Manchuria had already been visited by the Jesuits from Peking. 

Although, as we have seen, Russian enterprise was now cut 
short on the Amur, it had already made known the geographical 
features of the whole of that region, while the diplomatic relations 
with China had drawn a connecting link across the obscure region 
of Manchuria. The chief area of unknown ground still remaining 
in north-eastern Asia lay between the Sea of Okhotsk and the 
farthest outposts of the Russian traders on the Anadyr ; and even 
this was in part brought within the bounds of European know- 
ledge before the close of the century. 

In 1696 Atlassof, commanding the post of Anadyrsk, sent 
the Cossack Moroskoi to extend Russian influence towards the 
souths Moroskoi reached the neighbourhood of the Kamchatka 
river on the east side of the peninsula, finding, in a native fort 
which he took, traces of the previous arrival of Japanese castaways. 

1 The dates of Moroskoi's and Atlassof s expeditions are here given on the 
authority of G. F. Miiller, but it should be noted that Krasheninikof, in his 
History of Kamchatka (see p. 262, infra), places them both two years later, 
i.e. in 1698 and 1699. 


In the following year (1697) Atlassof himself proceeded south 
and built a fort on the Kamchatka river, which subsequently 
became the centre whence the whole country was subjugated. 
The completion of the work was not, however, effected till the 
next century, while it was long before the true relations of 
Kamchatka with other lands to the south were understood, some 
even taking that peninsula to be continuous with Yezo. The 
first discovery of the west coast of Kamchatka of which certain 
information exists took place in 17 16, when a vessel corhmanded 
by the Cossack Sokolof, aided by Swedish prisoners of war, who 
had been sent to eastern Siberia on account of their skill in ship- 
building and navigation, made the voyage from Okhotsk to the 
Tigil river, and down the coast to the Kompakova^. The first 
authenticated rounding of the southern extremity of the peninsula 
belongs rather to a new period of exploration, which will be dealt 
with in a subsequent chapter. 

Before proceeding to speak of the extension of geographical 
knowledge during the seventeenth century from the side of China, 
two journeys undertaken from India during the early part of that 
century may be described. The first is that of Bento (Benedict) 
de Goes, a lay member of the Jesuit order, who in 1603 set out 
from India in search of the Great Empire of Cathay, of which 
the fame had long before been noised abroad by the medieval 
travellers. During the two centuries and a half which had 
elapsed since the days of the Franciscan missionaries and other 
early visitors to China, no European had reached that Empire 
by the land route followed, for the last time of which we have 
any knowledge, by John de Marignolli, envoy from Pope 
Benedict XII to the Great Khan in 1338. Some intelligence 
had, it is true, come through by native agency, while even after 
the sea route had been opened up by the Portuguese, information 
respecting Cathay was obtained during the journey to Bokhara 
of Anthony Jenkinson and his companions in 1558-9. But so 
vague were the current ideas respecting Central Asian geography 

' Reports of an earlier voyage down the east coast of Kamchatka, and 
round its southern extremity, may have some basis of fact, but in any case 
nothing certain is known about it (cf. p. 123, ante). 

H. 9 


that it was far from generally recognised that Cathay and. China 
were but different names for one ^and the same empire. The 
arrival at the court of Akbar, just before the end of the sixteenth 
century, of a Mohammedan merchant from China (Cathay), which 
he had reached by way of Kashgar, turned the attention of the 
Jesuits in India to that empire as a field for missionary labour, 
and Goes, with other missionaries, was chosen to carry out a 
journey of exploration in that direction^. 

The journey — which ended fatally for the traveller, though not 
before he had reached the borders of the land he sought — was a 
very remarkable one, leading as it did through countries not 
again visited by Europeans until the nineteenth century ; but the 
details which we possess about it are unfortunately of a very 
fragmentary character. Goes left Agra, where Akbar then held 
his court, in 1602 or early in 1603, choosing the route, most 
used by merchants, round the western extremity of the Himalayas 
and by the cities of Eastern Turkestan. His track cannot be 
followed with precision even in the light of recent discovery, but 
the general direction was as follows. Crossing the Indus at Attok. 
he reached Kabul by way of Peshawur, and crossed the Hindu 
Kush (" very lofty mountains ") by a pass to the north or north- 
west of the former city. Reaching Talikhan he passed on through 
a district in which civil war was raging, and traversing some ex- 
ceedingly difficult country, entered the " defile of Badakshan," in 
which the road ran above a river, possibly the Panj or Upper 
Oxus, or perhaps one of its tributaries. An open desolate tract 
(one or other of the various Pamirs) was then crossed, and after 
it a steep mountain, beyond which lay the province of Sarikol. 
Hence the meridional range which culminates in Mustagh-ata 
was crossed by the Chichiklik pass, and the route continued via 
Tangitar to Yarkand. After waiting a year, during which he 
paid a visit to Khotan, Goes, in November 1604, joined a new 
caravan, bound for China, which took the route across a comer of 
the desert to Aksu, and then east along the southern foot of the 
Tian Shan by Kucha and Turfan to Kamil or Hami. Before 

• Goes was a native of San Miguel in the Azores, and had apparently 
reached India as a soldier on board a Portuguese fleet. 


this our traveller had learnt from merchants travelling on the 
return journey that Cathay was indeed China, as the Jesuits in 
Peking had conjectured even before Goes set out on his search. 
Crossing the steppes infested by roving bands of "Tartars," and 
passing through the Great Wall, Goes arrived at Suchou, whence, 
after some difficulty, he communicated with his co-religionists at 
Peking. A native Christian was sent to escort him, but on 
arriving at Suchou in March, 1607, found Goes prostrated by 
illness, which ended fatally eleven days later. Some suspicion 
was entertained that the traveller was poisoned by the Moham- 
medans, who at Suchou had given him constant trouble, and who 
after his death seized all his goods. Among these was a carefully 
kept journal, which, had it come down to us, would have given 
most valuable information on a route not again traversed by a 
European for some 250 years. 

The second traveller above referred to was also a Jesuit, 
Antonio de Andrade by name, who went to India as a missionary 
early in the seventeenth century, and in 1624 started, like Goes, 
from Agra on an adventurous journey into the unknown lands 
beyond the Himalayas. The journey was a remarkable one, 
being the first recorded instance of the passage by a European 
of the mountain barrier which shuts in India on the north, while 
it was also the first made by a European into Tibet since that of 
Friar Odoric early in the fourteenth century. Joining a party 
of pilgrims, Andrade ascended the head-stream of the Ganges, by 
the sacred shrine of Badrinath, to its source in a small glacier 
lake on the Mana pass (18,000 ft). Pushing on, he reached the 
then important centre of Chaprang on the Upper Satlej, in the 
elevated region often known as Little Tibet, returning thence to 
India before the end of the year. On this first journey he was 
accompanied by Emmanuel Marques, and on returning to 
Chaprang in 1625, by Gonzales de Sousa as well^ This was 
the beginning of a long intercourse of Europeans with Tibet — 
one which lasted, with breaks of greater or less duration, till the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. The next important journey 
after that of Andrade was undertaken from the direction of China, 
to which we must now turn our attention. 

1 For further note on Andrade's journeys see Appendix. 



Although during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries China 
had been made more or less known to Europe by the travels of 
Marco Polo and others, and the missionary labours of the 
devoted Franciscan Friars, headed by John of Montecorvinb, 
an almost complete break in the intercourse between east and 
west had supervened for more than a century before the Portu- 
guese ships made their way for trading purposes to the coasts of 
the far east. Their intercourse with China — confined to one or 
two ports — did little to improve the knowledge of the interior, 
and it was not until the arrival of a new band of missionaries 
that any great advance was made in this respect. Already, 
towards the close of the sixteenth century, a first step had been 
made by the labours of Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza, a Spanish mis- 
sionary, who published an account of the Chinese Empire in 1585. 

In 1578 the Jesuit Valignan visited Macao, and recommended 
the despatch from India of one or more priests to commence 
work in southern China. Three Italians were soon afterwards 
sent, among them being Matthew Ricci, who had studied geo- 
graphy in Rome under the celebrated Jesuit mathematician, 
Clavius. After a few years the missionaries were permitted to 
establish themselves on the mainland of Kwangtung, and in 1595 
Ricci set out overland on a journey to Peking, where he hoped to 
gain influence at court; but on this occasion he failed to obtain 
an audience, and was obUged to retire to Nanking. Hence he 
again proceeded to Peking in 1600, being this time well received, 
and allowed to establish himself in the capital, whence, as we 
have already seen, he despatched a native adherent to meet Goes 
on the interior frontier of China in 1606. Ricci and his associates 
found favour with the Chinese on account of their scientific 
attainments, and their services were called in for the reform of 
the Chinese calendar. 

After the death of Ricci in 16 10, his papers, which gave a full 
account of the establishment of the mission, were edited by 
Father Nicolas Trigault and published at Augsburg in 1615,. 
while his work was continued in China by Johann Adam Schall,. 
and afterwards by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Fleming^ But no 

1 Ricci's Comentari and Lettere were first printed in full in 1910-ri, after; 
being long lost sight of. 


great additions to geographical knowledge were made for some 
years, the first important contribution being the publication of 
the Atlas Sinensis of Father Martini (1655). This was based 
entirely on Chinese sources, and is one among many proofs that 
the knowledge possessed by the Chinese of their own country was 
far from despicable, however crude were their ideas as to the rest 
of the world. 

About this time the Dutch began to scheme for the establish- 
ment of trade with China, and for this purpose sent several 
embassies to Peking and elsewhere, but with little result as far 
as their chief object was concerned. They led, however, to some 
increase in European knowledge of China, for the envoys travelled 
overland, and full accounts of their routes were afterwards pub- 
lished. In 1655 Pieter van Goyer and Jacob van Keyser started 
from Canton by the great water-route to the north, crossing the 
mountains which separate the basins of the Si-kiang and Yangtse, 
and journeying down the Kia-kiang, the southern tributary of the 
latter; then descending the Yangtse to the Grand Canal, by which 
they continued their journey north. The account of the journey 
was written by Jan Nieuhoff (known also for his travels in Brazil 
and elsewhere), who embellished his narrative with a large number 
of views and plans of cities, drawings of animals, and the like. 
Another embassy was headed in 1666 by Pieter van Hoorn, who, 
making Fuchou in Fokien his point of departure, ascended the 
Min or Si-ho, crossed the divide into Chekiang, and descended 
the Tsientang to Hangchou ; finally, like his predecessors, follow- 
ing the course of the Grand Canal. The account of this journey, 
compiled by Arnold Montanus, was published at Amsterdam in 
1670, with other narratives of the Dutch proceedings in China. 
To the same period belong the travels of the Spanish Dominican 
Navarette, who, after spending some years in the Malay Archi- 
pelago, passed over in 1658 to China, making his way from 
Macao through the coast provinces to Peking. He afterwards 
published (Madrid, 1676) a diffuse account of the Empire of 
China, with the narrative of his travels through Mexico, thence 
to the Philippines and China, and home by India, Madagascar, 
and the Cape of Good Hope. 

We. now come to the second great journey through Tibet — 


that of Fathers Grueber and Dorville. Johann Grueber was born 
at Linz in Austria in 1623, and started for China as a missionary 
in 1656, travelling through Armenia and Persia to Surat in 
India. Here he was delayed some time, and only reached 
Macao in 1659, afterwards proceeding to Peking. Being directed 
to return to Rome, and the sea route being closed by a Dutch 
fleet, he set out with Dorville by the overland route in April, 
1661, travelling via Singan-fu to Sining in Kansu, near the borders 
of Koko Nor'. The latitude of this important mart was deter- 
mined, and the great wall was seen and described, as well as the 
steppe or desert to the north, roamed over by wild beasts, and in- 
habited by Tartar tribes, known to Grueber as Kalmucks. Passing 
the Koko Nor the travellers must have traversed the salt plain of 
Tsaidam and then crossed the high ranges and plateaux about 
the sources of the Yangtse-kiang ; this being described, under the 
name Toktokai^ as a very fine river as large as the Danube, 
though shallow. The kingdom of Lhasa, said to be called Baron- 
tala' by the Tartars, and also styled Tangut in the narrative, was 
then entered. Grueber describes the Grand Lama, or supreme 
head of Buddhism in Tibet, as the Lama Konju'', and the secular 
king or regent as Deva or Teva'. He drew a portrait of the former, 

^ The only accounts of the journey extant are an anonymous "Relation" 
in Italian, and fragmentary notices derived from Grueber's letters. They 
give signs of much confusion, doubtless due to imperfect memory. Thus the 
Hwang-ho is said to have been twice crossed between Singan-fu and Sining, 
and the latter town to be situated at the Great Wall. 

- The Toktonai-ulan-muren, still imperfectly known in our own day, is 
one of the branches of the Mur-ussu or Upper Yangtse, but, being much 
smaller than the latter, can hardly be the river spoken of by Grueber. 

^ Barontala is said to signify the country on the right, Dzungaria is 
similarly said to be derived from jion kai, " left-hand." Another Mongol 
name for Lhasa is Barun-tsu, which is translated " Western Sanctuary." 

■* The Dalai Lama had only recently attained supreme power at Lhasa. 
The holder of the title at the time of Grueber's visit had originally been Grand 
Lama at Tashi Lhunpo in southern Tibet. He rebuilt the monastery of Potala 
at Lhasa in 1643, and was recognised as Dalai (ocean) Lama by the Emperor 
of China in 1653. 

^ Although depa or iepa was in later times the title given to a special 
functionary who conducted the civil government for the Dalai Lama, Grueber 
seems to allude to one of the Mongol kings of the line of Guchi Khan, prince 
of Koko Nor, who are said to have held office about this time as military 


and also made a picture of his palace or monastery at Potala. 
During his stay he fixed the latitude of Lhasa by astronomical 
observations. Resuming their journey, the travellers crossed a 
very high pass — where they experienced difficulty in breathing 
on account of the rarefied air — subsequently turning south and 
crossing the main Himalayan chain into Nepal, near the frontier 
town of Kuthi or Nilam. Here they visited the city of Khat- 

The Rhubarb of China. (From Kircher's China Illustrata.) 

mandu, and another which Grueber names Baddan, and which 
must stand either for Bhatgaon or Patan, both of which were 
important towns in the Khatmandu valley. Finally, passing 
through Morung, a district of the Tarai, they made their way to 
Patna on the Ganges, and thence by Benares to Agra, eleven 
months after leaving China. 

At Agra Dorville died, but Grueber continued his journey 

defenders of the kingdom. He says that the Deva was descended from an 
ancient race of Tangut Tartars. 


through Persia and Asiatic Turkey to Europe. Being again 
ordered to China he thought to open a road through Russia, 
but his plans were frustrated owing to an invasion of that country 
by the King of Poland. He was attacked by dysentery and seems 
to have turned back without getting much beyond Constantinople 
dying in Germany in 16S4. Some of Grueber's letters were pub- 
lished in the China Illustrata of Athanasius Kircher (Amsterdam, 
1676)^ and others in a small volume published at Florence in 
1687, all being reproduced by Thevenot in his well-known col- 
lection of travels. 

The next Jesuit journey to Tibet was made early in the next 
century for the purpose of estabUshing a mission at Lhasa. 
Meanwhile much had been done to improve the knowledge of 
China proper, the chief workers being now a body of French 
Jesuits, the first of whom left France in 1685 in the suite of 
M. de Chaumont, ambassador from Louis XIV to the King of 
Siam. They had been chosen for their knowledge of mathematics 
and kindred sciences, this being the most useful credential in the 
eyes of the Chinese emperor, now the famous Kang-hi of the 
Manchu dynasty. Of the party which left France, five, viz., 
Gerbillon, Bouvet, Le Comte, Fontaney, and Visdelou^, were 
destined for China, where in 1688 they were received by the 
Emperor on the recommendation of Verbiest'. The journey to 
Peking was made overland from Ningpo, through the provinces 
of Kiangnan and Shantung, and the route (as well as others 
subsequently followed) was fully described in the great work of 
Du Halde, to which reference will be made later. The French 
missionaries found favour at the court of Kang-hi, and one of 

^ Kircher was a German Jesuit of great learning, who held the post of 
Professor of Oriental languages at Wurzburg. The China Illustrata gives a 
general description of the country, with an account of the early explorations of 
the Jesuits. 

2 The sixth Jesuit was Pere Tachard, who afterwards wrote the account of 
the embassy to Siam. The mission to the latter country included other 

^ During the minority of Kang-hi most of the missionaries had been 
banished from Peking to Macao, but Verbiest had subsequently been employed 
as astronomer, and had persuaded the Emperor to relax the stringency of the 


their number, Jean Fran9ois Gerbillon, was, as we have seen, 
despatched with the embassy to Siberia in 1688-89, subsequently 
accompanying the emperor on various expeditions to the Mongol 
countries north of the Great Wall. His journals, afterwards 
published by Du Halde, contain much information respecting 
those regions^ 

In 1688 Gerbillon proceeded north-west and west, crossing 
both branches of the Great Wall, to Kuku Khoto, and turning 
north across the steppes and sandy deserts inhabited by the 
Khalkas, then being attacked by the Eleuths. Great numbers of 
partridges and some deer were seen. Owing to the war, the 
Chinese embassy was recalled by the emperor, messengers being 
sent to acquaint the Russians with the reason, but it set out again 
the following year. This time the envoys took a nearly northerly 
course, passing the wall by the great gate near Kiu-pi-kiu. Then 
ascending the valley of the Lan-ho, past hills clad in oaks and 
pines, they crossed the desert with its hills of shifting sand, and 
passed the " Karu " or limits of the empire a little south of the 
Chona rivulet^. Beyond the desert they came upon the Kerlun 
or Kerulen, some eighty miles above Lake Kulun or Dalai Nor. 
It was not more than fifteen paces wide and three deep. They 
soon entered a region partly covered with forest and intersected 
with many streams running west to the " Saghalien " or Shilka. 
Their banks were much incommoded with quagmires. The Shilka 
itself was finally reached opposite Nip-chu or Nerchinsk, being 
there over seven hundred yards wide, and deep throughout. 
Nerchinsk is placed by Gerbillon in 51" 56' N., which is approxi- 
mately correct. 

The negotiations having been brought to an end, the Chinese 
envoys returned by the same route for the greater part of the 
way. The Kerlun was now so swollen by rains that the horses 
could only cross by swimming. After passing the steppe — where, 
in October, sharp frosts are experienced — they took a more 

^ Two journeys in the Emperor's train to Manchuria and Mongolia had 
already been made by Verbiest, but his accounts of them are but brief. On 
the first occasion (1682), Kirin on the Upper Zungari was reached, and 
Verbiest heard of the famous Chang-pei-Shan, in which that river rises. 

^ In about 46° 30' N. according to Stieler's Handatlas. 


easterly route by Mount Pe-cha, reaching Peking on October 22. 
Gerbillon subsequently made various journeys with the emperor 
through eastern Mongolia. In 1696 he accompanied the force 
which Kang-hi led against the Eleuths to the head waters of 
the Kerlun, and late in the year took part in a visit to the 
Ordos country within the bend of the Hwang-ho. In 1697 a 
more extended journey was made somewhat in the same direction, 
the Hwang-ho being crossed at Pao-te, the Great Wall skirted 
within Chinese territory, and the river again crossed to Ning-hia. 
On the return march the expedition proceeded north along the 
Alashan range and followed the course of the Hwang-ho, more or 
less closely, round its great northern bend to the point where 
it again turns south. Over forty observations for latitude were 
made during this journey. 

The next year, 1698, Gerbillon made a still more extensive 
journey, this time in company with three Chinese officials sent 
by the emperor to hold assemblies of the Khalkas of Eastern 
Mongolia. The expedition left Peking in a N.N.E. direction, 
crossing the wooded ranges of Northern Pechili, and proceeding 
northwards across the western basin of the Liau-ho. The Khingan 
mountains, mentioned by Gerbillon as separating the streams 
flowing to the northern and southern oceans, were then crossed, 
and the first place of assembly was reached a Kttle north of Pwir 
Nor, the effluent of which, the Urson, flows to Lake Kulun or 
Dalai Nor. Starting afresh in a northerly direction the expedition 
struck the south-western shore of Dalai Nor, where Gerbillon 
collected information respecting the lake and surrounding moun- 
tains, and then ascended the valley of the Kerlun, crossing and 
recrossing the stream as it swept to the south or north, and 
passing the ruins of Kara-hotun, built in the time of the Yuen 
dynasty. Near the point where the Kerlun first assumes its 
easterly direction that river was left, and the Tula, the first 
stream belonging to the Yenesei system, was struck. Both the 
Kerlun and Tula were correctly described to Gerbillon as rising 
in the Kentei mountains to the north. The country now became 
more agreeable, the Tula — considerably larger than the Kerlun— 
forming many tree-clad islands, and flowing rapidly through 
pleasant meadows and woods. Crossing the mountains to the 


north-west of the Tula, amid woods carpeted with wild straw- 
berries, the expedition finally camped on the angle of ground 
between the Tula and Orkhon, where the second assembly was 
held. Here Russian merchants were encountered, from whom, 
and from a Khalka in their service, Gerbillon obtained much 
geographical information regarding the southern borders of Siberia. 
Among other points he learnt of the existence of the Altai, 
Khangai, Tannu, and other chains which give rise to the great 
Siberian rivers; obtaining besides a correct account of Lake 
Baikal from a Russian who had traversed it from end to end on 
the ice, as well as of the Jabkan and Kobdo rivers of northern 
Mongolia and the lakes in which they terminate. The camp 
near the Orkhon formed the turning point of the expedition, 
which made its way from the Kerlun across the Gobi desert to 
Kuku Khoto near the Hwang-ho, and thence to Peking. A large 
number of latitudes were again observed, which for the first time 
supplied the means of mapping with some accuracy a tract of 
country till then almost entirely unknown. 

The mapping of the Chinese Empire was soon, however, 
undertaken on a more systematic plan. As we have seen, the 
Chinese maps of the nearer portions of the empire gave a fairly 
correct idea of its geography, but could not, of course, equal those 
based on astronomical observations. To revise and extend the 
existing maps was the task entrusted by Kang-hi to the French 
Jesuits, who in 1699 received a large accession to their numbers. 
In that year Bouvet returned from a visit to Europe with nine 
new missionaries, among them being Jean Baptiste Regis, whose 
name is above all associated with the great survey soon to be 
carried out. Already before 1705 the Jesuits had been com- 
missioned to execute a survey of the plain south of Peking, where 
the emperor wished to restore the works of defence against in- 
undations, and in 1708 they began a more extended survey in 
the neighbourhood of the Great Wall. In 1709 Rdgis, assisted 
by Jartoux and Fridelli, surveyed Manchuria from May to 
December, passing beyond the Amur, and also visiting the Ussuri 
region. The account of the journey contains a correct description 
of the Chang-pei Shan or Ever-white Mountain, which was found 
to owe its whiteness, not to snow, but to the loose gravel of 


which it is in part composed. It is not quite certain whether 
the Fathers actually visited the mountain, the time at their 
disposal having been scanty considering the great area with which 
they had to deal. They were near enough, however, to obtain 
some knowledge of northern Korea, and to prove once for all 
that that country formed part of the continent, as indeed had 
been shown in the best maps previously published. The interior 
of Korea remained outside the sphere of operations, but Regis 
afterwards gained some knowledge of the country from an am- 
bassador sent there by Kang-hi. 

On their return from Manchuria the Fathers surveyed the 
province of Pechili, the work being finished in 17 10. The next 
year Regis turned his attention to Shantung, and subsequently, 
assisted by De Mailla and Henderer, to the other eastern provinces 
from Honan to Fokien. Finally, in 1715, after the death of 
Bonjour, who had begun the survey of Yunnan, the work was 
completed by Rdgis, who had then material for the whole map 
of the empire with the exception of Tibet'. For the astronomical 
survey of that country two lamas, who had received a mathematical 
training from the Jesuits, were despatched thither by the emperor, 
and in 17 17 the results of their labours were placed in the hands 
of Rdgis. Though imperfect in many ways^, owing in part to the 
invasion of the Eleuths, the map, supplemented by information 
collected by Gerbillon and others, was a great advance on any 
which had been made previously, and until recent times was 
almost the sole basis for our knowledge of Tibetan geography. 
The courses of the Tibetan rivers, including the Sanpo, were laid 
down, and though their lower portions remained unknown, they 
were rightly considered to form the head-waters of the Yangtse, and 
of the great rivers of the Indo-Chinese peninsula. The informa- 
tion collected by the missionaries was eventually (1735) published 
in Paris by the Jesuit, Du Halde, accompanied by an atlas of 
maps by the celebrated geographer d'Anville ; a second edition, 
with . supplementary matter, being issued in 1736 at the Hague. 

1 Others of the missionaries who by their letters did much to increase the 
knowledge of China were Parennin, Premaire, Jartoux, and Gaiibil. 

2 Parts of the map were laid down merely from information derived from 
the lamas. 



Many interesting letters of the Jesuits were also published in the 
Lettres Adifiantes et Curieuses, edited first by Legobien and 
afterwards by Du Halde. 

Brief mention must be made of the European journeys to 
Tibet made during the first half of the eighteenth century. In 
1707 a party of Capuchins (Montecchio, De Fano, etc.) reached 


Lhasa. In 171 5 Hippolito Desideri, a Jesuit, was directed to 
establish a mission at Lhasa, and succeeded in making his way, 
with Manoel Freyre, through Kashmir over high passes to Leh, 
and thence in 17 16 to Lhasa, where the Fathers remained till 
1729. Desideri gave a vivid account of the horrors of the 
mountain passes, the bare remembrance of which, he said, caused 
him to shudder. Soon after Desideri's arrival at Lhasa, a large 
party of Capuchin missionaries headed by Orazio della Penna, an 
Italian, made their way (1719) to the same city, travelling through 
Nepal. The mission established by Della Penna laboured at 
Lhasa for over twenty years, having been reinforced in 1740 by 
a new party of friars taken out by the founder after a visit to 
Rome in 1735— 38^ During this time a journey through Tibet, 
from India to China and back, was made by an adventurous 
Dutch traveller, Samuel van de Putte, who reached India in 1624 
vi& Aleppo and Persia, and after travelling for several years in the 
dress of a native, arrived at Lhasa, where he dwelt for some years. 
His journey to China was made in company with a Tibetan 
embassy, and led him across the Upper Yangtse ("Bichu," i.e. 
the Di-chu of modern maps) which, being probably in a state 
of flood, it took him over a day to cross. The remaining route 
was probably that by Koko Nor and Southern Mongolia, but 
little definite information exists as to Van de Putte's travels, his 
voluminous papers having been destroyed, by his orders, after 
his death at Batavia in 1745. 

With the decline of the influence of the Roman Catholic 
missionaries after the death of Kang-hi, the forward steps in 
geographical knowledge ceased for a time, China becoming once 
more closed to European travellers. The Jesuit accounts re- 
mained the principal authorities on the geography of the country, 
and not till the middle of the nineteenth century did explorers 
again visit the remoter regions of the interior. 

1 The party included Cassiano Beligatti, whose account of the journey to 
Lhasa was printed in Italy for the first time in 1901-2. 


AFRICA, 1 600-1 700 

The greatest advance in geographical knowledge during the 
seventeenth century occurred in those quarters of the globe 
which, in the great discoveries of the previous period, had 
remained comparatively untouched by the explorer. In Austra- 
lasia, in Northern Asia, and in North America, new lands were 
brought to light of which only the vaguest ideas were current 
during the Spanish and Portuguese period. Those regions, on 
the contrary, which had formed the special spheres of activity 
of early explorers, now entered upon a period of stagnation, and 
though some slight additions continued to be made to the 
general knowledge, these bear a relatively unimportant part in 
the history of geographical discovery. This is particularly the 
case with Africa, the continent which in the time of Prince 
Henry of Portugal saw the first systematic attempts to disperse 
the mists of obscurity which during the middle ages had en- 
veloped more than half the surface of the globe. As has been 
often pointed out, Africa long felt the effects of a position on 
the road to the more attractive regions of the east and west, 
to the development of which all the resources of the conquer- 
ing and trading nations of Europe were devoted. Whatever 
posts were established on the African coasts were regarded 
either as ports of call on the routes to the East or West Indies, 
or as stations for the supply of slaves to the plantations of the 
latter. Deprived thus of her labour-supply for the benefit of 
other newly opened lands, Africa was for over two centuries 
condemned to remain all but stationary both as regards the 
development of her resources and the prosecution of geographical 

144 AFRICA, 160O-I70O [CHAP. 

It was chiefly in the portion of the continent which lay nearest 
to Asia and was thus most in touch with events in the East Indies 
that the bounds of knowledge were extended, and here too, as in 
so many parts of the world at the time, the progress effected was 
mainly the work of Jesuit missionaries. Attention had long been 
directed to Abyssinia through the fame of its Christian potentate 
erroneously identified with the " Prester John " of earlier times, 
who was in reality an Asiatic prince. Even in the middle of the 
fifteenth century the famous world map of the Venetian Fra 
Mauro, constructed for King Alfonso V of Portugal, exhibited 
a surprising acquaintance with the geography of Abyssinia and 
the Galla countries to the south, though its author was naturally 
ignorant of the true relation of these countries to the rest of the 

The embassies of Payva and Covilhao (begun in 1487), of 
Alvarez (1520—27), and of Diaz and Rodriguez (1555), as well as 
the military expedition of Don Christopher da Gama in 1541, 
gave the Portuguese a personal acquaintance with the country 
and paved the way for the arrival of the Jesuits. The first party, 
headed by Bishop Andrd de Oviedo, landed at Arkiko on the 
Red Sea in March, 1557, and though the reception accorded 
was not altogether favourable, the mission was maintained for 
40 years without a break, the chief centre of activity being at 
Fremona in the province of Tigre. In 1597 the last repre- 
sentative of the first mission died, and work was in abeyance 
for several years ^. An attempt to reach Abyssinia had been 
made in 1588 by Fathers Antonio de Monserrate and Pedro 
Paez, but being taken prisoners at Dhofar they were sent to 
Sana, the capital of Yemen, passing on the way the ruins of the 
ancient Melkis. Returning to India after seven years' captivity, 
Paez again set out for Abyssinia, which he reached in safety in 
1603, being favourably received by the Emperor Asnaf Segued 

1 Fra Mauro's map (1457-59) showed, among other features, the Abai 
with Lake Dembea, the Hawash, Lake Zuai, the Gibie (Xebe), Mount Zukwala 
(Xiquala), and the provinces of Amhara, Gojam, and Shoa (Saba) in fairly 
correct relation, though pushed far too much to the southward. 

^ The Jesuits are said to have been represented during this period by a 
secular priest, a native of India, Da Sylva by name. 

VI] AFRICA, 1600-I700 145 

(or Za Donghel) in 1604. Paez resided in tlie country until his 
death in 1622, travelling, generally in the emperor's retinue, 
through its various provinces, and becoming acquainted with its 
geography and history. He wrote an account of the country 
and of its early rulers which after his death was placed in the 
hands of another missionary, Manoel d' Almeida, who embodied 
it in his Historia de Ethiopia a Alta, a volume which remained 
in manuscript down to the present day^. It seems, however, to 
have been utilised in the compilations of Balthasar Tellez, Kircher, 
and Ludolf, which present a general account of the history of the 
Jesuit mission in Abyssinia. Paez seems to have visited the 
source of the Blue Nile in 16 13 (not 1618 as given by some 
authors), and his description, as given by d'Almeida and the 
historians just mentioned, is wonderfully accurate. He describes 
the course of the Abai through Lake Dembea and the rugged 
mountains of Gojam,* with the cataracts of Alata, whose noise 
was said to make the inhabitants in their neighbourhood deaf. 
Paez also gives the correct explanation of the inundations of the 
Nile which had puzzled so many of the ancients, attributing them 
to the excess of rain which falls during the wet season in the 
Abyssinian highlands. 

But the most adventurous journey undertaken by any of 
the Jesuits was that of Antonio Fernandez, who in 1613-14 
penetrated far into the Galla countries south of Shoa. This 
missionary reached Fremona, by way of Suakin and Massaua, 
in July, 1604, in company with F. A. de Angelis. The Emperor 
Sultan Segued (or Socinios), who after some opposition finally 
established himself on the throne in 1607, showed much favour 
to the missionaries, who were settled near his Court on the shores 
of Lake Dembea. Being desirous of sending an embassy to 
the King of Portugal, and fearing the machinations of the Turks 
at Massaua, the emperor thought it preferable to despatch the 
expedition southwards towards Melinde. The Jesuits having 
been asked to send one of their number with the envoy, the lot 
fell upon Fernandez, who, though fully conscious of the difficulties 
of the route chosen, set out from Dembea in March, 1613. 

' It was printed in 1905-6 by Beccari in his Rerum ^thiopicarum Scrip- 
tores. Either the original or a copy is now in the British Museum. 

H. 10 

146 AFRICA, 160O-17OO [CHAP. 

His journey, which is described by Tellez in his History of 
Ethiopia, led, in fact, through countries not again traversed until 
the latter part of the nineteenth century, but can by the help of 
modern maps be followed without difficulty for the greater part 
of the way. The most obscure part of the outward route is the 
first section, which led in a south-west direction through the 
country of the pagan Gongas to the Blue Nile at a place called 
Mina or Mine\ This was said to lie in 12° N., nearly due west 
of the source of the river, at the point where it begins to turn 
north, but as the centre of the province of Dembea was placed 
in 13° 30', or a degree too far north, we may look for the crossing 
point somewhere about 11°. This would place it in a region 
still very imperfectly known at the present day. Hence the 
journey was continued due south through the country of the 
Gallas to Narea or Enarea, next visited over two centuries later 
by the French traveller d'Abbadie ; a larg» stream named Maleg 
(probably the Didessa or one of its tributaries) being crossed on 
the way. The people of Enarea (which is correctly placed in 
8° N.) made an excellent impression on the traveller, no less for 
the sincerity of their character than for their fine physique. They 
carried on an active trade with their Negro neighbours in gold 
and other commodities. 

The ruler of Enarea put obstacles in the way of a further 
advance southward, insisting that the ambassador should take 
the easterly road through Bali, a district bordering on the 
Danakil country^. In this direction the first country passed 
through was that of Gingiro (Janjero of modern maps) which 
formed a sort of peninsula encompassed by the River Zebee 
(Gibie)^- This had therefore to be crossed twice, on each 
occasion with some difficulty and danger. Fernandez learnt that 
Gingiro signifies monkey and considered that the name suited the 

1 Mina is shown on some modern maps just north of the Blue Nile, in 
about 36° E. , but on what authority does not appear. 

2 Near the Hawash according to ancient (and some modern) maps. 

' There are two streams of this name, each starting in a northerly direction 
before turning south, and therefore forming a kind of peninsula as described. 
The district of Janjero is placed by modern travellers in the angle between 
the southern Gibie and the river of which the northern Gibie is the head- 




Western portion of Ludolf s Map. 

10 — 2 

148 AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 [CHAP. 

king well in regard to both his personal appearance and habits. 
The travellers now entered the kingdom of Kambat and thence 
after a long detention proceeded to Alaba^. Still pursued by in- 
trigues, the ambassador and his Portuguese companion were unable 
to advance further, but made their way back, with many adventures, 
by a new route apparently leading nearly due north from Alaba. 
Coming at last to an Amba or mountain inhabited by Christians, 
they received orders to repair to the Court, which was reached in 
September, 16 14. 

Another Jesuit traveller, better known to English readers than 
either Paez or Fernandez through the translation of his narrative 
by Dr Samuel Johnson, was Father Jerome Lobo. This missionary 
embarked for Goa in 1622 in the fleet of Count Vidigueira, and 
being chosen soon afterwards for the Abyssinian mission, sailed 
from India in January, 1624, with the intention of finding an 
overland route from Mehnde secure from Turkish interference I 
Landing at Patta or Pate on the island of the same name, Lobo 
left his companion there and proceeded north along the coast 
in a native bark to the neighbourhood of the Juba river. Here 
he came in contact with the Gallas, who gave him no hope of 
finding a practicable route to Abyssinia, telling him of the 
constant wars that raged among the various nations on the way. 
The two missionaries therefore made their way back to India, 
where they found the Patriarch Alfonso Mendez about to set out 
for the mission. In his company Lobo reached the Red Sea, the 
various ports of which he accurately describes. The name of the 
sea he derives from the presence of a reddish seaweed growing in 
the shallow waters. A landing was effected at Bailur or Bailul, 
one of the less frequented ports just within the straits of Bab- 
el-Mandeb, and the missionaries made their way across the 
burning sands of the Danakil country, incurring some danger 
from the predatory bands which infested the country, but arriving 

1 Both these districts are to be found on modern maps, information re- 
specting them having been first obtained, in modern times, by the Italian 
travellers Cecchi and Chiarini. 

2 Fom- of the party of missionaries who set out about this time for 
Abyssinia arrived in safety by the Red Sea route. Two others, however 
after landing at Zeila, were beheaded by the native ruler. Another accom- 
panied Lobo. 

VI] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 149 

safely at the mission station of Fremona after ascending the 
plateau escarpment. During his lengthened residence in the 
country Lobo became well acquainted with its various provinces. 
He frequently visited Gojam, the Agau countries, and other 
districts adjoining the Blue Nile, of which he gives a detailed 
description so far as it flows within the borders of Abyssinia\ 
He knew little of the countries beyond those borders to the west 
except that they were inhabited by Negroes with curled hair, 
whom the Abyssinians had been unable to subdue. The district 
of Fazokl near the point where the Blue Nile leaves the mountains 
was, however, known to him under the form Fazulo. Being 
assigned by his superior to the mission in Daraot, Lobo crossed 
the Blue Nile and gained some knowledge of the southern portion 
of Damot, which then lay to the south of that river, though since 
overrun by the Gallas. The district of Ligonus, in .which his 
work lay, is described by him as one of the most beautiful and 
agreeable places in the world, the air being healthful and 
temperate, and the hills shaded with cedars. 

After the death of Sultan Segued a persecution arose, and 
some of the Jesuits were obliged to flee the country, while others 
suffered martyrdom. The same fate befel a party of Capuchins 
who thought to re-establish a mission in Abyssinia, and though an 
attempt was again made by the Jesuit Charles de Brevedent at 
the close of the seventeenth century and by German Franciscans 
early in the eighteenth, practically no addition was made to our 
knowledge during the century and a half after Lobo's time. 

The work of the Portuguese Jesuits, recorded by the historians 
already alluded to, rendered Abyssinia the best known part of 
Africa during the period with which we have to do. In 1683 
Ludolf constructed a map, based to some extent on one by 
Tellez, which is surprisingly correct in its general outlines. A 
photographic reproduction of its western half is given on p. 147. 
The former writer, who acquired much of his information at first 
hand from a native of Abyssinia named Gregorius Abba, severely 
criticises the maps of Africa produced by the Dutch or Flemish 

^ One journey was undertaken for the purpose of searching for the remains 
of the chivalrous but unfortunate Don Christopher da Gama, in which, to 
his great joy, he was successful. 


AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 


school of cartographers (Mercator, Ortelius, Janssonius, Blaeu, 
etc.) which were quite incorrect in their delineation of Abyssinian 
geography. Unfortunately these Flemish maps attained a wider 

Evolution of Central African Cartography in the i6th century. 

Note. Waldseemiiller's map of 15 16 was preceded by that of 1507, in which 
the general idea was the same, though less developed. Mercator's of 
I569"was similarly preceded by his globe of 1541, on the same general 
lines. Gastaldi's map of 1564 was the one most closely followed by 
Dapper and other compilers of the succeeding century. 

currency than the more correct maps based on the Jesuits' 
accounts, and thus contributed to the maintenance of erroneous 
ideas respecting Central African geography. The manner in which 

Vl] AFRICA, 160O-17OO 151 

they had been gradually evolved by stay-at-home geographers, on 
a Ptolemaic basis, has been spoken of in the introductory chapter, 
and is illustrated by the accompanying sketch-raaps. 

One or two of the later journeys to Abyssinia, made about the 
close of the seventeenth century, deserve special notice on account 
of the different route adopted — that by Egypt and the Nile 
Valley. Father de Brevedent set out from Cairo in June, 1698, 
accompanied by a French doctor, Charles Poncet, whose narra- 
tive is our only authority for the events of the journey^ Beyond 
Siut, where the Nile was crossed by a stone bridge, the travellers 
took the route across the desert, by way of the oases, then 
usually followed by trading caravans bound for the Sudan. 
Poncet states that the Sudan lay to the west of Sennar, and 
that merchants went there in quest of gold and slaves. He 
mentions the great oasis — the last territory subject to the Grand 
Seignior — under the name Helawe — no doubt a corruption of El 
Wah, "the oasis." At Shabbe (Esh Shebb) the kingdom of 
Dongola was entered, and after the Selimeh oasis had been 
passed the Nile was again struck in the vicinity of the third 
cataract. After a halt at Dongola, the travellers entered the 
kingdom of Sennar, leaving the Nile at Korti and crossing the 
Bahiuda (" Bihouda ") steppe to Derrera just below the sixth 
cataract. They did not see the confluence of the White and 
Blue Niles, as they crossed to the east bank and struck across 
to the Blue Nile above the confluence, this being still considered 
by Poncet as the main stream. On March 21, 1699, they 
were in the town of Sennar, the latitude of which is given as 
13° on the authority of an observation by Father de Brevedent^. 
The heat was here found to be almost insupportable. The place 
was populous but ill-built ; goods of all sorts were cheap, and 
a large trade with the East by way of Suakin was carried on by 
its merchants. Leaving Sennar, the travellers recrossed the Blue 
Nile and continued their route to the south-east, passing by 

^ An abridged version of Poncet's narrative was publislied in the Letires 
Adifiantes et Curieuses. From the statements of Father Krump, whose 
journey will be mentioned later, it appears that three Franciscans also accom- 
panied Brevedent. 

2 The true latitude is 13° 36'. 

152 AFRICA, 160O-170O [CHAP. 

Debarke (on the Binder) to Giesim, half-way between Sennar and 
Abyssinia, wrongly placed by the father in 10° N., if Poncet's 
statement is to be trusted^ Subsequently crossing the Gandwa 
(Gundwa), the head-stream of the Atbara, Poncet and his com- 
panion reached the borders of Abyssinia, where, on the threshold 
of the hoped-for scene of his labours, the Jesuit father succumbed 
to a malady from which he had long been suffering. Poncet 
continued his journey to Gondar, where he claims to have been 
warmly received by the emperor, but some doubts have been 
thrown on the accuracy of this part of his narrative. His de- 
scriptions of the outward route are evidently faithful, and supply 
an interesting view of the political state of the country at the 
time, as well as details of its natural history. He says a good 
deal about Abyssinia, also describing the source of the Nile and 
Lake Dembea, to which last he gives the greatly exaggerated 
length of 100 leagues. After some stay in Abyssinia, his health 
compelled him, early in 1700, to turn his steps homewards, 
which he did through the provinces of Wogera (" Ogara "), Shire 
("Siry"), and Adna, crossing the Takazze ("Tekessel") and 
Mareb (" Moraba"), and finally reaching Massaua, where he was 
well received by the Turkish governor. The English were at the 
time attempting to open a trade with Abyssinia, and an English 
vessel arrived at Massaua during Poncet's stay. 

The journey to Abyssinia by the Nile route was again under- 
taken more than once within a few years of Poncet's return^. In 
1700 the Minorite Friar, Theodore Krump, received a commission 
from his superiors to join the expedition to Abyssinia then being 
organised by Pope Innocent XII. From Rome he went to 
Tunis, where he visited the town of Susa as well as the capital, 
and thence took ship for Alexandria. From Rosetta he went by 
boat to Cairo, and eventually to Siut, where he joined the bulk 
of the expedition. Six other fathers started with him for Abys- 
sinia, the party including the Jesuits Grenier and Paullet, as well 

' Giesim is placed in some maps near tlie source of the Binder in 12° N. 

^ Poncet himself is said to have started again in 1703, accompanied by- 
Father Du Bernat, but, on arriving at Jidda on the Red Sea, to have absconded 
into the interior of Yemen with the presents intended for the king, afterwards 
proceeding to Surat and Isfahan. 

VI] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 153 

as four of his own order. From Siut the caravan took a somewhat 
different route from Poncet's, keeping to the river as far as Girgeh 
and then striking across the desert to the Ruins of Thebes. At 
Esneh the desert was again entered, and Poncet's route was joined 
at the oasis of Esh Shebb, beyond which it was followed pretty- 
closely as far as Sennar. The desert routes from Girgeh to 
Thebes and from Esneh to Esh Shebb were not again followed, 
or at least not described by any European traveller, until recent 
years. At Sennar Krump remained behind to place his medical 
knowledge at the disposal of the ruler, while the rest of the party 
made their way to Abyssinia, accompanied by Paschalis, who 
had before resided at Sennar. So far as can be judged from 
Krump's account, they took a somewhat different route from 
Poncet's, but the party finally reached Gondar with the loss, 
through death, of one of their number. Having, after much 
opposition, obtained the adhesion of the emperor to the Roman 
Church, the survivors of the party started homewards. By this 
time several had succumbed to illness, and others fell victims 
to the climate during the return. Krump likewise started home- 
wards from Sennar (June, 1702), and the journey was made by 
the already-followed route as far as Selimeh. Beyond this a new 
course was adopted, which took the caravan by an oasis called 
Luach by Krump, the identity of which seems doubtful. Krump 
published in 17 10 a lengthy account of his journey, which contains 
detailed descriptions of the places visited in Egypt and Nubia. 
Like Poncet's narrative, with which it generally agrees, it em- 
phasises the trade importance of Siut and Sennar. 

Some geographical results were obtained by travellers on the 
west coast of Africa during the seventeenth century, but they 
were of much less importance than those gained in Abyssinia. 
In Senegambia and Upper Guinea the chief activity was displayed 
by the agents of trading corporations, which, though generally 
confining their activity to the coasts, made some attempts to pene- 
trate to the supposed rich regions of the interior. Further south, 
in the old kingdom of Congo, some journeys were made by mis- 
sionaries, but none of these extended to a great distance, though 
they did something to diffuse a knowledge of the countries visited. 

154 AFRICA, 160O-I7OO [CHAP. 

The Portuguese monopoly of trade to West Africa had been 
challenged long before any voyages to the East Indies had 
been ventured on by the rivals of that nation. During the 
sixteenth century various trading voyages had been made to West 
Africa, particularly by the French from Dieppe, who directed their 
attention chiefly to the Senegal. From 1550 onwards English 
adventurers followed in their track in fairly quick succession, 
and in 1588 the first English Company for West African trade 
obtained a charter from Queen Elizabeth. In 1618 a more 
serious undertaking was set on foot, chiefly at the initiative of 
Sir Robert Rich, which led to the incorporation of the " Company 
of Adventurers of London trading into Africa." This company 
turned its attention to the Gambia, by which river it was hoped 
that a road might be found to the famous city of Timbuktu and 
the gold-producing regions of the Western Sudan'- A vessel of 
a hundred and twenty tons was despatched in 161 8, under the 
command of George Thompson, who ascended the Gambia with 
the ship as far as a place named Kassan in 15° W. Proceeding 
to explore the river further in boats he made his way for some 
distance, but on his return found that the ship had been seized, 
and the crew murdered, by a party of Portuguese. The following 
year he again ascended the river, passing the Barrakonda falls 
and reaching Tinda, 25 or 30 leagues beyond. During this 
journey he learnt particulars of the caravan trade of those parts, 
and was already meditating the establishment of fortified posts on 
the river when his overbearing conduct led to his death at the 
hands of one of his men. 

In 1620 two ships were fitted out and placed under the 
command of Captain Richard Jobson, who likewise ascended 
the Gambia as far as Tinda, and made enquiries relative to trade ; 
but want of suitable goods for barter made the venture a failure. 
On his return Jobson wrote a full record of his proceedings, 
entitled The Golden Trade, with some account of Thompson's 
also and a description of the country and its inhabitants, so 
that the voyage led to some increase of knowledge. A fort 

1 A story is told by Barros to the effect that Timbuktu was reached by 
two Portuguese envoys towards the dose of the iifteenth century, but the 
correctness of this is extremely doubtful. 

VI] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 155 

seems to have been built on the Gambia in 1618, but it was 
afterwards abandoned, and Fort James was not finally established 
until many years later. On the Gold Coast, too, a fortified post 
was established in 16 18 by the British Company. 

It was to this latter coast that the Dutch turned their chief 
attention during this period. The formation, in 162 1, of the 
Dutch West India Company, with a sphere of operations extending 
likewise to West Africa, was quickly followed by the establishment 
of posts on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, where Fort Nassau, 
a little to the east of Cape Coast Castle, was founded in 1624. 
Before long the Dutch possessed no fewer than 16 stations on 
the Gold Coast, Elmina, wrested from the Portuguese in 1637, 
being the chief. Before the end of the century both the Danes 
and Brandenburgers also established themselves on the same 
coast, the former retaining their settlements until the middle of 
the nineteenth century. This commercial activity, though not 
leading to any journeys of exploration into the interior, did much 
to bring about a better acquaintance with the coast lands, which 
had its outcome in the careful descriptions of Dutch writers, such 
as Bosman and Barbot. The former Hved 14 years on the coast, 
and, as most of his information is at first hand, his work is the 
most valuable early authority we possess on the Guinea coast. 
It includes also two letters written to him by other factors of the 
Company, the one, by J. Snoek, describing the Ivory and the 
Grain Coast, the other, by David van Nyendael, of special import- 
ance as one of the few original accounts of the country of Benin 
down to quite recent years. 

The relations of the Dutch and other nations with the Guinea 
Coast extended round the head of the Gulf to at least as far as 
Cape Lopez, the numerous estuaries of the rivers being constantly 
visited for the purpose of obtaining cargoes of slaves. The Non 
and other branches of the Niger delta were known (though not 
suspected to be the mouths of a great river), as well as the Old 
and New Calabar, and many other streams. The account is 
extant of voyages to New Calabar and Bonny by James Barbot, 
brother of John Barbot, author of the Description of Guinea. 

Meanwhile the French, as already stated, confined their 
attention almost entirely to the region of the Senegal, where 

IS6 AFRICA, 160O-I7OO [chap. 

they continued to trade, though for many years their posts were 
limited to the vicinity of the coast. The first French company 
seems to have been formed a little before 1626 among the 
merchants of Dieppe and Rouen, and not many years afterwards 
the first voyage up the Senegal of which we have any account 
took place. It is described by an adventurer who took part in 
it, Claud Jannequin, Sieur de Rochefort. The expedition, under 
the command of Captain Lambert, made the coast of Barbary 
and coasted down to Cape Blanco, where the adventurers landed 
to build a small vessel for the exploration of the Senegal. The 
country was found to be barren and waterless and the inhabitants 
wretchedly poor, living chiefly on fish. On reaching the Senegal 
the ship was left outside the bar, which was with difficulty crossed 
in the boat. Within the mouth of the river a small fort was 
built — apparently near the village of Biyurt on the east bank, 
not on the site of St Louis — and the voyage up stream com- 
menced. The furthest point reached, "Terrier Rouge," is said 
to have been 70 leagues from the mouth and is placed on old 
maps in 15° W. During the ascent, trade was carried on with 
the Negroes for hides, ivory, gum arable, ostrich feathers, etc., 
but the season — the beginning of the rains — being unfavourable, 
it became necessary to return. The inundations of the Lower 
Senegal are accurately described by Jannequin, who, however, 
accepts the popular belief of the time that that river was the 
lower course of the Niger, or rather one branch of it, two others 
being supposed to enter the sea north and south of the Senegal 

The Rouen Company was in 1664 merged into the French 
West India Company, which soon joined in the slave trade for the 
supply of the West Indian plantations. This turned its attention, 
like that of other European nations, to the Slave Coast and 
adjoining regions. One of the first voyages made on behalf of 
the West India Company was that of Villault de Bellefond (1666), 
who sailed along the Guinea Coast from the Senegal to the Gold 
Coast, touching at many points. An account of his voyage, with 
descriptions of the places visited, was published on his return, 
and soon afterwards translated into English. The account is 
also extant of a voyage by the Sieur d'Elbfe to Ardrah or Jakin 

VI] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 157 

on the Slave Coast in 1670. It contains an account of the 
kingdom of Ardrah, which then occupied a large part of the 
present Dahomd On the Senegal' operations were not attended 
with great success until the arrival of an energetic and capable 
Director-general in the person of Andrd Brue (1697), who during 
his period of administration greatly extended the knowledge 
of the Senegal river I In July, 1697, Brue set out on his first 
voyage, which had for its object the regulation of the trade 
with the Full (Fulas) on the north bank of the river, then ruled 
by a chief named the Siratik, whose residence was in about 13° W. 
The Senegal was full at this season, and with its wooded banks 
afforded a scene of great beauty. Owing to the strength of the 
current the boats were towed by Negroes, who worked often up 
to their waists in the water. The ledge of rocks called Platon de 
Donghel, which obstructs the river at low water in about 14° W., 
was passed without difficulty and, soon after, the furthest point 
previously reached by the French was passed. Brue did not 
himself advance beyond the Siratik's district, but sent on some 
agents, who reached the frontiers of Galam near the mouth of 
the Faleme, where they opened a trade in slaves, gold, and 
cotton cloths'. The Fulas were found to be of a distinct race 
from the Negroes, being tawny instead of black. They carried on 
a trade in gold and ivory with the " Moors " of the neighbouring 

Brue's second voyage up the Senegal was undertaken in 1698, 
when Galam was successfully reached, and Fort St Joseph 
established near the town of Dramanet, a little above the mouth 

' Some information respecting the countries adjoining the Lower Senegal 
was given by Le Maire, a French surgeon, who made the voyage there 
in 1682. 

2 Before this the West India Company had made over its rights as regards 
the Senegal to a subsidiary association, in whose service Brue went out, 
succeeding the Sieur Bourgignon as Director. It should be noted that at 
least one journey, attributed by Labat to Brue, has been shown to have really 
been made by his predecessor La Courbe. 

3 Barbot says that the Chevalier des Marchais ascended the Senegal to 
Galam about this time, and it is suggested by the editor of Asiley's Voyages 
that the French traveller had been with Brue on this occasion. This is im- 
probable, as Des Marchais himself says nothing about such a circumstance. 

IS8 AFRICA, 1 600-1 700 [CHAP. 

of the Faleme. The inhabitants were for the most part Moham- 
medans, and the merchants traded as far as Timbuktu, said to be 
500 leagues beyond. Brue obtained here some information re- 
specting the intervening kingdom of Bambara, whence slaves 
were brought to Dramanet. After building the fort, he continued 
his ascent of the river as far as the rock Felu, which, stretching 
across the channel, formed a fall entirely obstructing navigation. 
This fall was examined by Brue on foot, the boat having been 
left two leagues below. It had been his intention to proceed 
as far as the Guina ("Govina") falls, but a sudden drop in the 
level of the river, amounting in 24 hours to no less than 18 feet, 
warned him to begin the return journey. During this expedition 
information was obtained of the gold-yielding country of Bambuk, 
and of the trade carried on by the Mandingos in those regions. 
Brue also made enquiries regarding Timbuktu, and was told that 
the city was not, as had been supposed, on the Niger, but at 
some distance from it. The accounts, however, were somewhat 
conflicting and threw some doubt on the identity of the Niger 
with the .Senegal. Some years later Brue sent some of his men 
to push the discovery further, and these succeeded in reaching 
the Guina Falls (32 days' journey from the head of navigation on 
the Senegal), but advanced no further. One of Brue's agents 
named ApoUinaire was stationed at Dramanet (Fort St Joseph) 
after the Director's return, in the hope of being able to make 
his way to Bambuk. In this he was unsuccessful, though he 
ascended the Faleme to the first rapids above its mouth and 
entered into friendly relations with the native chief of Kaynura. 
Things soon went badly, however, at Fort St Joseph, which had 
to be evacuated in 1702. 

Brue does not seem again to have ascended the Senegal to 
so high a point as in 1698, though active in visiting other parts 
of Senegambia in the endeavour to stimulate trade. After nego- 
tiations with the English on the Gambia in 1700, he is said by 
Labat to have made his way overland to Cacheo, but this journey 
is now attributed to La Courbe. During a second tenure of 
office as Director-general he made an unsuccessful attempt 
(1714) to reach the lake of Kayor, to the north of the Lower 
Senegal, and in 1715 visited the country north of the mouth of 


AFRICA, I 600- I 700 


the river, gleaning information respecting the gum trade, and 
the country which produced that commodity. 

On his return to the Senegal Brue had at once taken steps to 
re-establish a trade on the upper river, where, in addition to Fort 
St Joseph, a station (Fort St Pierre) was now established on the 
Faleme. In 17 16 the Sieur Compagnon, a chivalrous and enter- 
prising pioneer, made his way to Bambuk, and his various 
journeys threw much light on the district between the Senegal 

African Elephant. (From Labat.) 

and the Faleme. Campagnon first made his way across from Fort 
St Joseph to Fort St Pierre, afterwards following the east bank of the 
Faleme for a considerable distance, and striking across country 
to the gold district of Tambaura. He met with much opposition, 
but his afifability and liberality finally overcame all obstacles, and 
he was able to examine the principal so-called " mines '' in the 
country. The gold was found in alluvial deposits, but though 
the native methods of washing were very primitive, a considerable 

l6o AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 [CHAP. 

amount was obtained. Compagnon made a good map of the 
country between the Senegal and the Faleme, marking on it the 
positions of all the gold-yielding localities. He also collected 
information as to the plants and animals of the country, including 
a bird called the " Monoceros," which seems to have been a 
species of hornbill. Compagnon's explorations were not followed 
up for many years, and Bambuk formed the limit of the French 
acquaintance with the interior at this time. 

The accounts of Brue and other officers of the French company 
were utilised by the Dominican editor of travels, J. B. Labat, in 
his Nouvelle relation de FAfrique Occidentale, published in 1728, 
which contains a general description of the West African coast 
lands from the Senegal to Sierra Leone. Labat subsequently 
(1731) published an account of the voyage of the Chevalier des 
Marchais to the coasts beyond Sierra Leone in 1725-27. Des 
Marchais had made previous voyages to the same coasts, and 
Labat's work, which seems to have embodied other material 
collected by him, is one of the best authorities on the state of 
those countries at the time. It was illustrated by many maps 
and cuts — the former the work of the great French geographer 

We must now return to English enterprise on the Gambia, 
which, after the early voyages of Thompson and Jobson, was in 
abeyance for some years. In 1663, the year after the incorpora- 
tion of a third English African Company named the "Company 
of Royal Adventurers of England trading to Africa," Captain 
Holmes, who had been sent to protect British trade in West 
Africa, founded Fort James on an island 20 miles from the mouth 
of the Gambia, and this soon became one of the most important 
trading stations of the English in the whole of Guinea. The Royal 
African Company, which in 1672 took the place of the Company 
of Royal Adventurers, endeavoured early in the eighteenth century 
to extend its operations inland, and attempts were made to explore 
the upper course of the Gambia in the hope of discovering gold 
mines in that direction. In December, 1723, Captain Bartholomew 
Stibbs started from Fort James on a voyage up the river with the 

1 Only the first half of the work relates to Guinea, the latter part dealing 
with Cayenne, the ultimate destination of Des Marchais's voyage. 

yi] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 161 

ship Despatch, a sloop, and five canoes, the whites of the party 
numbering eighteen. The Despatch was left at Kuttejar (in about 
14° 35' W.) and the sloop at Barrakonda, the voyage being continued 
in the canoes. The time of year was unfavourable, the start having 
been delayed, contrary to Captain Stibbs's wishes, until too late 
in the dry season, and much difficulty was experienced from the 
lowness of the river. The first fall occurred about three leagues 
from Barrakonda, and extended right across the stream, so that 
almost a whole day was occupied in getting the canoes past it. 
Shallows became numerous above, and, after passing two more 
rocky falls, progress was completely stopped by the shoals at a 
point about 59 miles above Barrakonda. Stibbs sent one of his 
men to search for the reported York River, said to be situated 
17 leagues above Barrakonda, but he returned without success, 
having, during a day's journey, found only dry channels entering 
the main stream. This was so shallow that it had several times 
been forded. The result of this voyage was to induce Stibbs to 
doubt the correctness of the current idea that the Gambia formed 
one of the mouths of the Niger, for he had heard from the natives 
that it came from the gold mines, twelve days' journey from 
Barrakonda, and that it had no connection with lakes or any 
other river. He was also correct in supposing that the Senegal 
also was. independent of the Niger, rising comparatively near the 
coast; but his views did not meet with general acceptance, and 
the old idea maintained its ground many years longer. 

One of the fullest accounts of the countries oh the Gambia at 
this time is that of Francis Moore, who went out at an early age; 
in 1730, as factor under the Royal African Company, and during 
his residence in the country made many journeys up and down 
the river. His book, published in 1738, is in the form of a journal, 
but contains many descriptions of places on the river and the state 
of trade at the time. It includes the account of Captain Stibbs's 
voyage, and some particulars respecting Job ben Solomon, a native 
of Futa Jallon, who had been taken as a slave to Maryland, but 
had been redeemed and sent back to his country. During his stay 
in England, an account of his life and adventures had been drawn 
up by a Mr Bluet^ and this contains some information respecting 
the then unvisited country of Futa Jallon. Moore's book contains, 

H. II 

1 62 AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 [CHAP. 

in addition to various cuts, a map of the Gambia as far as 
Barrakonda, based on a survey by Captain John Leach, which 
a comparison with modern maps shows to have been remarkably 

Passing now to the more southern parts of West Africa — Congo, 
Angola, and neighbouring regions — we have again to do principally 
with the work of missionaries, who were now the most energetic 
travellers in the Portuguese colonies. The Congo river and the 
kingdom of the same name were, it is true, visited by Dutch 
traders before the end of the seventeenth century, but they added 
little to the geographical knowledge of those countries. The 
missionaries who laboured in Congo and Angola during the 
seventeenth century belonged to the order of Capuchins, whereas 
in the sixteenth the work had been carried on by Dominicans and 
Franciscans. The best authority on the travels of the Capuchins 
and on the geography of the region in question, as known towards 
the end of the seventeenth century, is the work of G. A. Cavazzi 
da Montecuccolo, who himself laboured and travelled in those 
countries. It is entitled Istorica descrizzione dei ire regni Congo 
Matamba e Angola (1687). This work formed the basis of a 
description of the country by Labat, who, after publishing the 
accounts of Upper Guinea to which reference has been made 
above, turned his attention to the more southern regions with a 
view to completing his account of the whole west coast. His 
Relation Historique de I'Ethiopie Occidentale, which is the title of 
the third of the series, was published in 1732 and, like the former 
works, contains maps by the great French geographer d'Anville. 
The journeys of some of the Capuchin missionaries extended 
a considerable distance into the interior — in some cases through 
districts hardly visited by Europeans since their time. Their 
routes cannot be laid down with precision, but the approximate 
direction followed by each can be guessed at with some confidence, 
confirmation being supphed in some cases by the light of recent 
discoveries. One of the most important journeys from a geo- 
graphical point of view was that of Girolamo de Montesarchio, 
who in 1657 is said to have made his way from San Salvador- — the 
capital of Congo — to Sundi on the Congo (evidently the country 

Vl] AFRICA, 160O-17OO 163 

of the Basundi tribe) and thence along the north bank of the river 
to a place named Concobella, supposed to lie on the borders 
of the kingdom of Makoko. One of Dapper's names for the 
inhabitants of the kingdom (Meticas) enables us to identify it 
with the land of the Bateke north of Stanley Pool. The return 
journey was made by a more easterly route by the "sacred tree" 
at Gimbo Amburi. This would seem to be not a solitary instance 
of penetration to so high a point on the Congo, for, in the account 
by the Capuchin Merolla of a voyage to Congo, etc., in 1682, we 
are told that a certain missioner travelled into the country of 
Makoko and died there after baptising 50,000 souls. The country, 
however, remained practically a terra incognita until Stanley's great 
journey of 1877. 

Another important journey seems to have been made beyond 
San Salvador on the south side of the Congo as far as the Kwango, 
its first great southern tributary. Nothing appears to be known 
of the name of the traveller who made this journey, but from the 
fact that the route is laid down with considerable detail in the 
map accompanying Dapper's Africa, and reproduced by Delisle, 
d'Anville, and other cartographers of the first half of the eighteenth 
century, there seems little doubt that such a journey was made. 
On the map alluded to, the route is shown as running generally 
parallel with the lower Congo at a little distance to the south, but 
this probably is due to accident, as it does not touch the river at 
any point, and our present knowledge enables us to trace the 
general direction of the march at an average distance of perhaps 
100 miles from the river. From San Salvador it led almost due 
north-east, finally striking the Kwango at a place called Condi, 
with Canga on the further bank^ Now, apart from the correct 
name given to the river, these two places can be identified as 
representing the town of Muene Kundi or some other centre of 
the land of the Bakundi, which lies on the Kwango at just the 
point where it was most likely to be struck; and the adjoining 
country of the Bokange or Bocanga. The places inserted on the 
earlier part of the route cannot be positively identified, but in 

1 The Condi country was also known to Dapper from the reports of the 
Dutchman, Jan van Herder, who had heard that beyond the Kwango dwelt 
a race of men of light complexion and long hair. 

II — 2 




general form and the prefixes employed they agree well with 
those of the country which would be passed through. 

From Dapper's time onwards the Kwango figured in maps 
of Africa, either correctly as a southern branch of the Congo 
(representing the Barbela of previous writers) or, as in Delisle's 
map, as the main stream of the river. The fact that Delisle and 
others who followed him pushed the upper course of the Kwango 
much too far to the east, coupled with the similarity of names, 

D'Anville's map of Angola and neighbouring regions. 
(From Labat.) 

has led some to the incorrect conclusion that the central course 
of the Congo was known to the Portuguese. That this was not 
the case is further shown by the fact that the upper courses of the 
Kwanza and Kunene are pushed as far to the, east as that of the 
Kwango, all being placed near together between Lat. 6° and 10° S. 
In Delisle's map the large Lake Aquiluna of Pigafetta, which was 
retained by Dapper, is shown merely as a swamp of comparatively 
small extent^ It was the merit of the great geographer d'Anville 

1 The Lake is named " Chilande " (Kilande) or Aquilonda by Cavazzi da 
Montecuccolo, and is said to be situated in Sissama, a part of Matamba (see 
next page). It is probably represented by one of the small lalces recently found 

VI] AFRICA, 1600-1700 165 

to reduce the mapping of the known regions adjoining the 
African coasts to fairly correct proportions, bringing out clearly 
the extent of quite unknown country in the interior. His justi- 
fication for this course is well stated on the map in Labat's work 
on Congo and Angola, of which an outline sketch is here given. 

Another missionary journey which deserves mention is that of 
Fathers Bonaventura and Francois van Batta from San Salvador 
to the east and south-east in 1649. Passing the district of Zombo 
(the Zombo plateau of modern maps) these travellers reached a 
place called Inkussu, which name may possibly represent the 
Lukussu, a branch of the Inkissi, which joins the Congo below 
Stanley Pool. Further south, the upper course of the Kwango 
was reached by more than one missionary, including Cavazzi da 
Montecuccolo himself. This traveller, as we learn from Labat, 
made his way from the Kwanza to the camp of the Jaggas near 
Kassanje'. He seems to have crossed the Tala Mungongo range 
by a pass considerably to the south of Kassanje, for the last three 
days of his journey led north through rich and well-cultivated 
plains. Dapper, who published his work in 1668, had of course 
no knowledge of the results of this journey, which were however 
utilised by Delisle, who marks Kassanje and the Jagga country 
on the left bank of the Kwango. Kassanje was also reached 
(before 1667) by Jean Baptiste de Sallizan, who, as we learn from 
Angelo and Carli's account of their journeys, likewise meditated 
a visit to the country of Matamba to the north. This district, 
which appears on Pigafetta's map and on most maps of the period, 
seems to have been fairly well known to the Portuguese, for its 
queen was said to have adopted the Roman CathoUc religion^. 

Several other accounts of the country were written by members 

to the north of Matamba. The effluent of the lake " Barbola" is said by the 
same writer to be a tributary of the Kwango, not, as Dapper thought, the 
Kwango itself. 

' The Jaggas were a warlike tribe which came from the east and devastated 
tills part of West Africa during the seventeenth century. 

^ Carli calls the country Malemba or Mattemba, while Dapper, following 
Pigafetta (map of Congo), gives Matemba and Matama, though the latter in 
the map of Africa has Matemba only. There is possibly a confusion with 
the district of Malemba south of the Kwanza. Matamba of modern explorers 
is a district west of the middle Kwango. 

1 66 AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 [CHAP. 

of the Capuchin missions, though as a rule they deal little with 
geography. The best account of the earlier stages of the Congo 
mission is that of Fragio (1648). Better known — by reason of 
their having been translated into EngHsh — are those of Angelo and 
Carli (1672) and of Merolla de Sorrento (1692) already referred to ; 
while, still later, an account of travels principally to the coast- 
land south of the Congo was published by a missionary named 
Zuchelli (17 1 2). 

In South and South-east Africa very little advance was made 
during the seventeenth century. The establishment of a settlement 
by the Dutch at the Cape (1652) brought httle addition to 
geographical knowledge until much later. A short description 
of the Hottentots was published by a Dutch traveller, William Ten 
Rhyne, who visited the Cape in 1673; ^^^ ^ fuller and more 
reliable account was that of Peter Kolbe, a German savant sent 
out at the beginning of the next century to make astronomical 
observations at the Cape. His work also gives an account of the 
Dutch settlements, limited at the time to the extreme south-west 
corner of the present Cape Colony, and it is illustrated by maps 
and plans and contains numerous observations. His general map 
shows the usual tendency to exaggerate the distances of interior 
places from the coasts The Portuguese territories on the east 
coast were already verging on decadence at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, and although the Monomotapa's kingdom was 
still frequented for a time, both by adventurers and missionaries, 
hardly any additions to geographical knowledge were made. A 
single exception is perhaps the journey of Bocarro to the north of 
the Zambezi in 1616. Bocarro seems to have reached the neigh- 
bourhood of Lake Nyasa, of which thenceforward some vague 
notions were current among the Portuguese settlers. It was not, 
however, till early in the eighteenth century that cartographical 
representations of the lake gave any indication of its actual 

1 The beginnings of exploration in the latter part of the seventeenth century 
are spoken of in Chapter xv. 

2 D'Anville's map (see p. 164) shows a long and narrow lake, named 
Maravi, in the position of Nyasa. 

VI] AFRICA, 1 600- 1 700 167 

In Madagascar and the neighbouring islands the seventeenth 
century brought some additions to knowledge, through the 
endeavours made by the French to establish settlements in them 
The first steps for this end were taken in 1642 by the inauguration 
of the Sociite de V Orient, which soon sent out agents who took 
possession, in the first place of Antongil Bay and the small island 
of Sainte Marie, and subsequently of other places on the east 
coast of Madagascar. The chief station was founded near the 
south end of this coast, and named Fort Dauphin. 

In 1648 an energetic governor arrived in the person of Etienne 
de Flacourt, who established French influence over a considerable 
area and explored some of the interior. After his return to France 
he published (1648) an account of Madagascar which marked an 
important advance in knowledge respecting the island. In 1664 
the French settlements passed to the newly-formed East India 
Company, but little was effected, and only six years later they 
became the property of the French Crown. During the Com- 
pany's connection with the island the Governors were respectively 
MM. de Rennefort and Mondevergue, the former of whom wrote 
an account of his voyage to Fort Dauphin. Between 1669 
and 1672 Madagascar (then known as Dauphine) and Reunion 
(Bourbon or Mascarenne) were visited by a M. Dubois, who in 
1674 published an account of his voyages, with descriptions of 
the remarkable fauna of Reunion, including the dodo and the 
gigantic land tortoises. A most interesting account of Rodriguez 
and its equally strange fauna — which modern research has shown 
to be very accurate — was written some years later by Frangois 
Leguat, one of a party of Huguenot exiles who attempted in 
1 69 1 to found a colony in the island. Reunion had been the 
original destination of the party, but the plans were changed 
when it became known that the more fertile island had been 
annexed for the French East India Company. After many hard- 
ships, including an imprisonment by the Dutch, Leguat reached 
Europe in 1698, but his MS. was not printed until 1708. In 
Madagascar no geographical results of importance were achieved 
after the time of Flacourt until past the middle of the eighteenth 



The course of discovery in South America during the seven- 
teenth century presents many analogies with that in Africa, and 
may be suitably spoken of in this chapter. The two continents had 
both been the scene of important events during the century or 
more which had preceded the opening of our period, and in both 
cases this was followed by a time of relative standstill, in which nd 
sensational discoveries were made, though the work of a multitude 
of lesser men gradually added to the accumulated stock of know- 
ledge. In both continents the work of missionaries, especially of 
the Jesuits, played an important part in the process, though in 
South America, more than in Africa, this was supplemented by 
the quest for gold and other minerals, and the raiding for slaves, 
especially ill eastern and southern Brazil. In South America far more 
had been done than in Africa during the sixteenth century, and 
the farther advance was therefore made from more forward bases. 
The extent of country of which a more or less accurate knowledge 
had been acquired before the beginning or middle of the i8th 
century was thus far greater in the western continent, and while 
at the close of our period the greater part of inner Africa remained 
a complete blank,, it was only the most remote recesses of 
South America that were still quite unknown at the same point 
of time. 

The advance in South America was carried on from three 
main quarters, — the Spanish settlements in the La Plata region ; 
the Portuguese settlements in the eastern and southern parts of 
Brazil; and Peru. In the region of the La Plata, and the 


various great rivers which pour their waters into its estuary, it 
was to the Jesuits that the results achieved were especially due. 
While the principal government stations were on the sea-board 
or in the lower basin of the great rivers, the missionaries pushed 
farther, afield, and during the seventeenth century brought into 
existence a vast system of " Reductions,'' as the settlements of 
converted Indians were then called. From the older centres 
they kept spreading their influence over the more remote dis- 
tricts, and a good deal of new country was thus brought within 
civilised ken. 

In the early decades of the century one of the most active 
among the Jesuits of this region was Father Roque Gonzales de 
Santa Cruz, who, after being for some time at the head of the 
reductions of the Parana, in 1620 founded a new centre on the 
Uruguay. In 1623, the governor of Buenos Aires, Don Luiz de 
Cespedes, sent the Jesuit Romero to explore the latter river from 
mouth to source, and the journey, though only in part successful, 
brought the traveller to the first Guarani tribes, 100 leagues from 
the starting point. In 1626 Gonzales attempted the exploration 
of the Sierra de Tape, a beautiful mountainous district east of the 
Paraguay province, drained in part by the Ybicui, a tributary of 
the Uruguay. It was his great desire to open a direct road to 
the sea from the Parana missions, and with this view he now 
explored the country of the Caaroans, near the Uruguay. Biit 
misfortunes awaited these promising endeavours, Gonzales being 
murdered by natives in 1628, while in 1630 the Spanish missions 
had to suffer from the incursions of lawless adventurers from the 
Portuguese province of Sao Paulo, whose inhabitants had shown 
particular activity in pushing west into the unknown interior. 
Attacking the mission stations, they carried off numbers of the 
converts into slavery, and caused such general havoc that the 
Jesuits found it necessary to evacuate the whole of the Guayra 
district, and embark on the Parana and seek a home less exposed 
to attacks from the north. Further misfortunes overtook the 
fugitives during this arduous journey. Some new attempts to 
open settlements were made in the Sierra de Tape and in the 
district of the Itatines tribe east of the Paraguay, but the Paulistas 
again attacked and devastated the missions, and the fathers were 


forced to remove to the narrowest part of the tract between the 
Parana and the Uruguay. The missions thus entered upon a 
period of retrogression, and tliough some advance was again 
made before the close of the century, it was rather from the side 
of Peru that subsequent forward movements were initiated. 

From the side of Brazil, although considerable activity was 
displayed by Jesuit missionaries, it is rather to the journeys of 
lay adventurers in quest of slaves and minerals that the breaking 
of most new ground is to be credited. The daring enterprises 
of the Paulistas or settlers in the province of Sao Paulo have 
already been referred to. Although slave-hunting was the motive of 
many of their raids, they also turned their energies to the search 
for mines, though in this they met with rivals from other provinces, 
with whom they eventually came into open confl,ict. It was only 
after many years of arduous endeavour that the rich mineral 
deposits, both of gold and precious stones, were at last brought to 
light. About the middle of the seventeenth century, one Marcos de 
Azevedo pushed his way up the Rio Doce and Rio das Caravellas, 
bringing back specimens both of silver and emeralds. His refusal 
to divulge the locality in which they occurred brought him into 
conflict with the authorities, and he died a prisoner. The search 
was taken up some years later by the government, but with 
little success until an enterprising prospector came forward in 
the person of Fernando Diaz, a veteran of 80, but possessed of 
such energy that within a few years he explored almost the whole 
of the future province of Minas Geraes, opening up settlements 
and prosecuting his journeys amid great difficulties and hardships. 
He was rewarded by the discovery of emeralds, but soon after- 
wards died of a fever. The next adventurer deserving mention 
is Bartolomeu Bueno de Sequeira, who carried on a successful 
search for gold during the last decade of the seventeenth century. 
Early in the eighteenth, a great influx to the mines took place, and 
the province of Minas Geraes became thoroughly opened up. 
That of Goyaz, another of the provinces rich in minerals, had to 
wait longer for its development, although certain adventurous 
spirits had penetrated to this remote region before the close of 
the seventeenth century. The first of these is said to have been one 
Manoel Correa, a Pauhsta, who was followed by Bartolomeu 

VIl] SOUTH AMERICA, 160O-17OO 171 

Bueno — the elder of two individuals, father and son, bearing that 
name. The exact routes followed by this adventurer cannot 
now be laid down, but he seems to have found gold in the basin 
of the Araguaya (the great western branch of the Tocantins or 
Para river) and to have possibly entered the neighbouring basin 
of the Xingu, one of the great southern tributaries of the Amazon. 
It was not till the third decade of the eighteenth century that 
these discoveries were followed up, Bartolomeu Bueno the son 
being then one of the first to form a regular settlement at the 
site of the future mines. 

In northern and north-eastern Brazil we again find Jesuits 
among the most active agents in the opening up of new districts, 
though some notable journeys were made in quest of the mythical 
realm of "El Dorado" (the "golden" monarch). Thus in the first 
few years of the seventeenth century Gabriel Soares undertook this 
quest, making his way to the head of the Rio Sao Francisco and 
beyond ; but he was forced to return, though not before he had 
done something to extend the bounds of knowledge. Two separate 
expeditions were undertaken about this time by Pedro Coelho 
de Sousa, who in the second of them, accompanied by a large 
party of adventurers, went overland from Maranhao to Ceara, 
and thence reached a point not far from the Serra de Ibiapaba, 
separating the basin of the northern Paranahiba from some of 
the western tributaries of the Sao Francisco. The Jesuits, too, 
took up the attempt to reclaim the Tapuyas of this range, though 
it was not until some time later that any great progress was 
achieved. From Pernambuco, where, during the war with Spain 
and Portugal, the Dutch had established themselves in 163 1\ 
some journeys were likewise made into the interior for the 
purpose of searching for mines. Two Dutch deputies are said 
to have made their way across country as far as Cuyaba, a 
journey of some 1500 miles in a direct line, through country then 
but imperfectly known. Among the Dutch officials who added 
to the general stock of knowledge was Jan Nieuhoff, whose 
journeys were described in an illustrated work which was long 
one of the standard sources of information on Brazil. 

^ Bahia, then the capital of Brazil, had been captured by the Dutch in 
1624, but had been retaken in 1625. 


An event which proved of much importance for the opening 
up of the Amazon valley was the founding, in 16 16, of the city 
of Para, or, to give it its full name, Santa Maria de Belem de 
Gran Para. This took place while Caspar de Sousa was governor 
of Maranhao, the officer entrusted with the task being Francisco 
de Caldeira. Although the actual site of the settlement was 
ill-chosen, its position relative to the two great river systems of 
the Amazon and Tocantins (the latter named, like so many of the 
Brazilian rivers, from the tribe on its banks) gave it particular 
advantages as a starting point for expeditions into the interior, 
though for some time those in charge signalised their periods of 
office chiefly by carrying devastation into the neighbouring 
districts. The impulse towards more extended exploration came 
from the side of Peru, and the fact that since 1580 the Spanish 
and Portuguese dominions had been united under one crown was 
of importance as encouraging co-operation between the Spanish 
and Portuguese authorities on the opposite sides of the continent. 
The progress of missionary enterprise from the side of Peru will 
be spoken of presently, but it must be mentioned here that a 
party of Franciscans had been despatched from Quito in 1635 to 
evangelise the Indians on the Aguarico, a tributary of the Napo, 
and that they were escorted by an officer, Juan de Palacios, 
who had previously been in charge of a fort in the upper 
basin of that river. Palacios founded a settlement near the 
mouth of the Aguarico, among a tribe of Indians knowii to 
the Spaniards as " Los Encabellados," in reference to their long 
hair, but was attacked and killed by these people, most of 
his companions making their escape to Quito. Two friars, how- 
ever (Domingo de Brieba and Andres de Toledo), with six soldiers, 
happening to be away at the time of the attack, did not return 
with the rest, but launching a canoe on the Napo (June, 1637) 
committed themselves to its waters and those of the main 
Amazon, and after an adventurous voyage finally reached Para 
in safety. This was but the third time, so far as is known, 
that the descent of the Amazon had been accomplished, the two 
previous voyages being those of Orellana and of the "tyrant" 
Aguirre, both in the sixteenth century. 

This event naturally directed attention to the possibility of 


navigating the Amazon, and an expedition was at once organised at 
Para under Pedro de Teixeira to explore the river route to Quito. 
This officer had already been employed on important under- 
takings, having been with Caldeira at the founding of Para, of 
which settlement he became governor, for a time, in 16 1 8. He 
had also fought successfully against the Dutch, and had ascended 
the Amazon and its tributary, the Tapajos, in quest of slaves. He 
started on his new mission towards the end of 1637. The ascent 
of the great river was naturally a more arduous undertaking than 
its descent by the two friars, and though these accompanied him 
on the journey, their voyage had been too hurried to permit 
of surveys which might have helped the Portuguese explorer to 
trace his upward route. Sending forward his associate, Colonel 
Bento Oliveira, a man known and respected by the Indians, to 
reconnoitre, Teixeira followed with the main body, and thus little 
by little accomplished the tedious journey, until territory under 
the jurisdiction of Quito was at last reached^- Here the main 
body was left behind under Pedro da Costa, while the com- 
mander pushed on to Quito, which he reached in safety in the 
autumn of 1638. 

But his task was not yet ended, for he was ordered by the 
authorities to return to Para by the same route, in order to perfect 
his survey of the rivers. Two Jesuit priests, Cristoval d'Acuna 
and Andres de Artieda, were assigned to him as companions, 
and were instructed to note down all that was of interest regarding 
the country and peoples passed on the way. The account 
published by Acuna in 1641 contains the observations of the 
fathers, and forms one of the most important early documents 
on the Amazon and its tribes that we possess. The voyage was 
carried out in 1639, being begun in February of that year, and 
this time the route down the Napo was the one adopted. During 
the further voyage the mouths of all the great tributaries of the main 
river were noted, and they are mentioned by Acuna under names 
differing little from those still in use. We find the Portuguese 
names for the two greatest tributaries — Rio Negro and Madeira — 

^ After leaving the main Amazon, the party does not seem to Iiave 
ascended the Napo, but another stream named by the voyagers Quijos, from 
the tribe living on its banks. 


already established, the former given on account of the clear 
black water^, the latter in reference to the amount of drift- 
wood brought down by the current. Information was likewise 
obtained of the connection between the systems of the Amazon 
and Orinoco by means of the Cassiquiari, though Acuna refused 
to admit that the northern river he heard of was the Orinoco. 
A project was set on foot by some of the party to ascend 
the Rio Negro in quest of slaves, but it was frustrated through 
the influence of the priests. Lower down, however, Teixeira 
found slave-hunting operations in full swing on the part of the 
Portuguese from Paral Like other travellers nearer our own 
time, Acuna gave credit to the accounts of tribes of Amazons 
(female warriors) living in the interior districts, and he narrates 
the usual fanciful details about them. Finally the expedition 
reached Para on December 12, 1639, the double journey across 
the continent having thus occupied just two years. 

About the middle of the century a new turn was given to 
affairs in northern Brazil by the. association of two men of high 
character who laboured with single aim for the improvement of 
the lot of the natives, whom the rapacity of the settlers had too 
often reduced to a state of misery. These were Vidal, governor 
of Maranhao, and the Jesuit Vieyra, who both worked zealously 
for the freeing of slaves and the civilisation of the Indians of the 
interior. Two Jesuits were despatched up the Tocantins to 
"reduce" the Topinambazes of that region, while a little later 
Father Manoel de Sousa made his way to the Xingu and Tapajos 
rivers and the country of the Juruunas. About the same time 
expeditions were undertaken in search of minerals to the Serra 
dos Pacajas, but they met with no success. 

One of the chief preoccupations at this time, both of the civil 

1 The black water of many of the South American rivers, especially those 
which flow through the forest-clad regions, is a remarkable phenomenon, 
which has long engaged the attention of geographers. 

2 Intercourse with the region of the lower Amazon and its tributaries had 
been maintained for some years before this, on the part not only of the 
Portuguese but of the Dutch and English. Between 1614 and 1625 the Dutch 
had forts both on the main Amazon and on the Xingu. Acuna heard a story 
of an English vessel which had ascended the lower course of the Tapajos. 

VII] SOUTH AMERICA, 160O-170O 175 

government and of the Jesuits, was the opening of an overland 
route from Maranhao to the south-east, or towards Pernambuco. 
After several vain attempts had been made, the Jesuit Ribeiro 
succeeded in reaching the Serra de Ibiapaba, already mentioned. 
Here a mission was established, and the desired overland com- 
munication with Pernambuco at last opened. Ascents of the 
Amazon and its tributaries continued to be made. In 1656 
Francisco Velloso and Manoel Pires brought back slaves from the 
mouth of the Rio Negro, and soon afterwards Pires, accompanied 
by Father Francisco Gongalves, ascended that river and returned 
to its mouth with over 600 ransomed captives. The father, how- 
ever, soon afterwards died. A military expedition, also accom- 
panied by Jesuits, ascended the Tocantins, the fathers reaching a 
point in 6° S. The interior thus gradually became better known, 
and, with the eventual advance on Goyaz from the south, there 
remained but a small part of eastern Brazil altogether untouched 
by Portuguese enterprise. Large tracts within the Amazon basin 
still remained unknown, both north and south of the main river, 
and sonig portions remain unexplored at the present day. 

From the side of Peru by far the greater part of the advance \ 
during the seventeenth century was due to the missionaries. From \ 
Quito, the Jesuit Rafael Ferrer went in 1602 into the country of 1 
the Cofanes Indians, where he estabhshed a mission, afterwards \ 
(1605) pushing on down the Napo to the Maraiion. He was 
murdered, however, in 1611. In 1616 some Spanish soldiers 
made their way into the country of the Maynas, in the valley of 
the Maranon, where a setdement was soon afterwards founded 
by Don Diego de Vaca y Vega. In 1638 a Jesuit mission was 
established in this district by Fathers Cueva and Cujia, who with 
some others also explored some of the neighbouring regions. 
Somewhat later, much exploring activity was shown by Father 
Raymundo de Santa Cruz, who from his station among the 
Cocomas of the lower Huallaga opened up a route to Quito by 
way of the Maranon and Napo. He was attempting the ascent 
of the Pastaza in 1662 when he was drowned by the upsetting of 
his canoe in a rapid. Still later, from 1684 onwards, the names 
of two Germans, Henry Richter and Samuel Fritz, were notable 
among the many missionaries who laboured in the region of the 


Maranon and made journeys on the various rivers, or through 
the dense forests. Fritz in particular descended the whole course 
of the Amazon to Para and wrote a valuable account of the 
great river, besides compiling a map. 

Meanwhile other missionaries, from a more southern starting- 
point, had pushed east into the valleys of the south-western 
tributaries of the Amazon, including the various branches of the 
Ucayali, which has some claim to be considered the real head- 
stream of the great river. Here it was the Franciscans who did the 
chief pioneer work. In 1631 Father Felipe de Lugano set out 
from Huanuco and, after pushing east to the valley of the 
Huallaga, established a mission. In 1637 Jeronimo Ximenes 
and Cristoval de Larios descended the Perene, but both were 
murdered by Indians. Others, however, followed in their steps 
and founded stations on the Chanchamayu, but, pushing on 
by the Perene to the Ucayali, they too fell victims to their zeal, 
being murdered by the Setebos Indians. Though many others 
ventured into these pathless wilds, the missions in this region 
encountered unusual obstacles, and many were the vicissitudes 
they passed through. 

The head-waters of the great Madeira, largest of all the 
Amazon tributaries, were also reached from Peru both by mission- 
aries and by lay adventurers. About the middle of the seventeenth 
century, some advance was made into and beyond the province 
of Carabaya, south-east of Cuzco, towards the country watered on 
the north-west by the great river known to the Spaniards as 
Madre de Dios\ and on the east and south by the Beni. The 
people of this region were known to the missionaries as Chun- 
chos. One of the first to undertake the conquest of this country 
was Don Pedro de Allegui Urquizo, who, among other posts, 
founded that of Apolobamba. He had with him some Au- 
gustinian friars, but these do not seem to have done much in 
the way of missionary work among the Indians, and it was to 
the Franciscans that the results achieved somewhat later were 

' If the account of the adventurous journey of Maldonado (sixteenth cen- 
tury) is to be trusted, this " conquistador " had then made his way down the 
course of the Madre de Dies, but this advance was not followed up at 
the time. 


principally due. On the lay side, a special incitement to exploration 
was supplied by legends of a remnant of the old Inca dominion, 
supposed to have maintained itself in the vast forests to the east, 
when Inca rule on the Andean table-land was brought to an end 
by the Spanish conquerors. A ruler named Paytiti was so con- 
stantly spoken of as holding sway in these regions that some, even 
in modern times, have thought that a real foundation for the story 
must have existed. Be this as it may, several expeditions were 
undertaken in quest of this supposed kingdom, one of the most 
important being that carried out under the orders of Don Benito 
Quiroga in 1670. Crossing the eastern range of the Andes, and 
launching a fleet, of canoes on one of the great rivers (apparently 
the Beni), the expedition pushed down stream for some distance, 
but was compelled to beat a toilsome retreat. In 1680 a party of 
Franciscans, including Fathers Sumeta, Corso, and De la Peiia, 
began their labours in the district of Apolobamba, where they 
and their successors in time established a number of stations, 
besides pushing a considerable distance into the wilds beyond. 

A more easterly headstream of the Madeira — the Guapay or 
Mamore — was the scerie of an important Jesuit mission, which 
laboured among the Moxos or Mojos Indians^ The first 
attempt on the part of the Jesuits to convert these people seems 
to have been made about 1668, by Fathers Jose Bermudo, 
Julian de AUer, and others. A few years later Brother Jose 
del Castillo made his way to the Moxo country, and it was 
through his influence that Father Cypriano Baraze, the most 
devoted of all the missionaries to this tribe, was induced to oflFer 
himself for the work. During his many years' labours among the 
Moxos (in which his first coadjutor was Father Pedro Marban), 
Baraze made extensive journeys into the surrounding regions, 
descending the Mamore a long distance, and extending the work 
of evangelisation among the tribes beyond the Moxos. One of 
his most arduous journeys was that in which, after previous vain 

^ Belonging strictly to a tribe on the banks of the Mamore, the term 
Moxos was often used at the time in an extended sense to include the various 
peoples of this part of the Amazon basin. Thus some of the tribes among 
whom the Franciscans worked in the district of Apolobamba are also spoken 
of as Moxos. 


attempts, he succeeded in tracing a direct route across the 
mountains from the Moxo country to Lima. This is said to 
have been in part the same as that followed by Quiroga (see 
above) a few years previously. Like so many others of these 
daring pioneers, Baraze lost his life through the excess of his 
missionary zeal, being murdered in 1702 by the Baures, a tribe 
dwelling to the north-east of the Moxos, into whose territory he 
had penetrated in the course of his wanderings. 

Another tribe of this region, the Chiquitos, dwelling to the 
east of the upper Mamore, was also brought under the influence 
of the Jesuits about this time, though from the side of Paraguay, 
not Peru. Even in the sixteenth century the Chiquitos had been 
brought into relations with the Spaniards during the expeditions 
of Nuflo de Chaves, the founder of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. But 
it was only in the last decade of the seventeenth century that any 
serious attempt to evangelise the tribe was made, the pioneer in 
the work being Father de Area, who after a preliminary reconnais- 
sance in the country of the Chiriguanas, founded several stations 
among the Chiquitos in i69r. 

With the close of the seventeenth century the advance of the 
missions into the unknown lands east of the Andes entered upon a 
less active phase, and though the work was continued in the districts 
already occupied, not much more was done to bring new lands 
within the ken of civilisation. By about 1700 the Portuguese 
from the east and the Spaniards from the west had met at more 
than one point in the centre of the continent, the superi&r 
activity of the Portuguese (at least of the lay element among 
them) giving them the larger share of the newly opened terri- 
tories'-. It was not, however, till 1777 that the mutual frontiers 
of the two nations were finally fixed by formal agreement, which 
gave to Brazil, broadly speaking, the limits which she has to-day. 

* The Portuguese adventurers from southern Brazil had already, at this 
time, made their way as far as the head-waters of the Madeira, where the 
Spanish missions, like those on the Parana, had to suffer from their incursions. 
A party which attacked the missions among the Chiquitos suffered a defeat, 
however, at the hands of a Spanish force from Santa Cruz de la Sierra. These 
Portuguese raiders had made their way from Sao Paulo across the region of 
the upper ParanS and Paraguay. 



With the two voyages of Tasraan described in Chapter in, 
the great period of discovery ushered in by the labours of Prince 
Henry of Portugal ("the Navigator") and the discovery of 
America may be said to have closed. The great highways of 
intercourse between the continents were now well known to 
navigators, and the European nations were too much absorbed in 
the fierce competition for the trade of the East and West Indies 
to be inclined to devote much time or attention to voyages for 
purely geographical discovery. In saying this we allude primarily 
to the course of maritime discovery, for on land, as we have seen 
in previous chapters, an advance continued to be made in the 
wide areas of Asia and North America (especially the latter), which 
in the middle of the seventeenth century still offered a virgin field 
to the pioneers of the nations owning settlements on their borders. 
But by sea it was otherwise, and the hundred years from 1650 to 
1750 formed on the whole a period of relative barrenness as 
regards important discoveries. Voyages were made, it is true, but 
the navigators of the period kept in the main to the beaten tracks, 
and any additions to knowledge were due rather to accident than 
to a settled purpose of solving the geographical problems which 
-still remained obscure. Some few exceptions of course there were, 
notably in the case of William Dampier's voyage of 1699-71, 
.and it is this name— with one or two others — that most deserves 
to be remembered in connection with the history of maritime 
-discovery during the period dealt with in this chapter. 

Many of the best-known voyages of the latter part of the 

l8o THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century were of a 
piratical or privateering character, but in spite of the small amount 
of positive discovery that resulted from them, they deserve some 
attention from the indirect influence they exercised on the course 
of maritime history. Of those who took part in them many were 
intelligent observers, and left behind narratives which did much 
to familiarise the English people with the remote parts of the 
world, and to keep alive a spirit of enterprise, which subsequently 
had its outcome in more valuable contributions to geographical 
knowledge. It will be well to depart somewhat from strict chrono- 
logical order in speaking of the voyages, and group together those 
of each one of the several nations concerned. 

Of the English voyages to the South Seas during the period in 
question the first in point of time was that of Sir John Narborough, 
who in 1669 was despatched by the British Admiralty with the 
double object of trade and discovery. From the latter point of 
view the aims of the promoters seem to have been somewhat 
ambitious, as they included the survey of the north-west coast 
of America from California northward with a view to the discovery 
of a passage to Europe by the far north, if we may credit the 
statement of Captain Granville Collins, who when a young man 
sailed with Narborough on this voyage. If such were the case 
the results fell far short of the expectations, for the expedition 
advanced no farther than Valdivia in Chile. The reason of this 
is said to have been the abandonment of the voyage by the second 
of the two ships which originally sailed — the pink Batchelnur — 
which turned back before the Strait of Magellan had been reached. 
Narborough himself in H.M.S. Sweepstakes spent some time on 
the eastern coast of Patagonia and did not enter the Straits till 
October 1670. Reaching the Pacific in the following month the 
Commander went vi&. Chiloe Island to Valdivia, whence, difficulties 
having arisen with the Spaniards, he sailed on the return voyage 
on December 21, leaving behind four men who had been seized 
by the authorities. The second object of the expedition, that of 
opening trade with Chile, thus failed equally with the geographical 
one. Narborough seems to have been a good seaman, and his 
chart of the Strait of Magellan, first published in 1694, showed 
a considerable improvement on those previously in use. His 


journal also contains sensible observations on the places visited, 
so that the voyage was not entirely without result. 

A few years after Narborough's return in 1674, a trading 
voyage to Peru, through the Strait of Le Maire to the east of 
Tierra del Fuego, is said to have been made by one Antoine 
de la Roche, a London merchant of French parentage. Some 
doubt attaches to the circumstances of this voyage, as it is 
mentioned by only one authority — the Spanish writer Seixas 
y Lovera, quoted by Burney. We know however that other 
trading voyages by this route were undertaken about this time, 
and there seems no valid reason to doubt the fact of the voyage 
having been made. It is of interest on account of the statement 
that during the return voyage, being carried by winds and currents 
from Le Maire Strait and Staten Island, La Roche lighted upon 
certain lands to the east, the existence of which had not previously 
been known. He would seem to have passed round the south 
and east coasts of a small island with snow-capped mountains, 
from which other high snow-covered land was visible to the south- 
east; and then, after sailing four days to the north-west and north, 
to have come upon land (also supposed to be an island) in 45°. 
As no island exists in this latitude in the South Atlantic it is 
natural to suppose, with Burney, that this land was really a 
point on the east coast of Patagonia^, but with regard to the 
lands first seen it is not so easy to find an explanation. The 
Falklands and South Georgia have both been suggested as the 
lands seen by La Roche, but in neither case is the description 
of a passage between the high lands, occupying but a short space 
of time, borne out. Such a passage exists further south between 
the South Shetlands and the still more southern lands, but it would 
perhaps be hazardous to conclude that so high a latitude as this 
(62° — 63°) had been reached, although the name of Dirck Gerritsz 
still given to a portion of this archipelago testifies to the belief of 
some that a still earlier navigator had made his way into these seas. 

^ This would not be an isolated instance of a point on the coast being 
mistaken for an island, if the theory of Commander Chambers (Geog. Journal, 
xvn. 42 1) is correct, that the Maiden Land of Hawkins and the Pepys Island 
of Cowley (to which we shall refer presently) were in reality parts of the 

1 82 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-I7SO [CHAP. 

We may here depart from strict chronological sequence in 
order to mention a somewhat similar voyage made in 1689-90 
by Captain John Strong to the coast of Chile and Peru. It is 
noteworthy for the discovery, during the outward voyage, of the 
sound or passage between the two main islands of the Falkland 
group — a name which likewise owes its origin to this voyage. 
The commander sailed from the Downs on October 12th in 
the Welfare, and on January 27th, 1690, came in sight of the 
Falklands — then known as John Davis's South Land. Steering 
east, Strong reached, on the 28th, the northern end of the sound, 
through which he sailed, emerging at the south-west end on 
February ist. The passage is said to have been much impeded 
by floating weeds, and foxes were seen on the land, the existence 
of which led the commander to make the shrewd suggestion 
(shrewd for the time in which he lived) that a connection had once 
existed between the group and the mainland of South America. 
Strong named the passage Falkland Sound, and the name has 
since been transferred to the group as a whole. The rest of the 
voyage was without important incidents. 

We must now go back somewhat in time to the first irruption 
of the buccaneers of the West Indies across the Isthmus of 
Panama, which led eventually to many adventurous voyages in 
the South Seas, and some geographical discoveries. The daring 
exploits of Drake and other Elizabethan seamen in the West 
Indies were in later times emulated by a host of English and 
French adventurers, who set at naught the exclusive policy of 
Spain and carried on a clandestine trade with the Spanish 
settlements in Hispaniola and elsewhere. Like the Spanish 
"matadores'' they frequently occupied themselves with the 
hunting of cattle, both for the provisioning of their ships and for 
the purpose of trading with the hides, tallow, etc. The meat was 
cured after the Carib fashion by being dried on a grate or barbecu 
over a slow fire, and to it was applied the Carib term boucan. 
From their use of this commodity the adventurers came in time 
to be called by the French boucaniers, a term which was englished 
as buccaneers, the name by which these daring sea-rovers have 
been most generally known. By their bold and reckless hardihood, 
the buccaneers became a terror to the peaceable inhabitants of 

VIIl] THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 183 

the West Indian seas, and deeds of almost incredible cruelty and 
violence were perpetrated by them, though a few names stand 
out in more pleasing light and relieve the general gloom of the 

Encouraged by the attempts at settlement inaugurated by the 
French and British Governments, the buccaneers extended their 
aggressive operations against the Spanish settlements, and in 1670, 
in spite of the treaty concluded in that year between Great Britain 
and Spain, went so far as to plan an expedition against the city of 
Panama, which, under their famous leader Morgan, they took and 
pillaged after a fierce fight in 167 1. This seems to have turned 
their thoughts to the South Seas as a promising field for their 
lawless doings, and in 1680 they again crossed the isthmus, de- 
scending the river of Santa Maria in boats, and capturing Spanish 
ships, in which they carried out their piratical cruises. Among 
this band of adventurers the most noted leaders were John Coxon, 
Peter Harris, Richard Sawkins, and Bartholomew Sharp, while it 
also included William Dampier' (afterwards famous for his more 
legitimate voyages of discovery) and Basil Ringrose, who, like 
Sharp, wrote a narrative of the doings of his associates. 

After carrjdng on their lawless operations for some time on the 
western coasts of Central and South America, a party of these 
buccaneers, including Dampier and Lionel Wafer (the latter of 
whom subsequently wrote an account of his adventures among the 
Darien Indians), returned across the isthmus, while another band, 
headed by Sharp, made the voyage round the southern extremity 
of the continent, exploring en route some of the intricate sounds 
and channels on the west coast of Patagonia. The island still 
known as Duke of York's Island was so named during the voyage. 
South of Cape Horn, land is said to have been seen in 57" 50' S., 
but this was probably a mass of floating ice, other masses of which 
were afterwards seen in 58° 30'. A course was now steered for 
the West Indies, where the crew dispersed, Sharp and some others 
returning to England. 

1 Dampier had already had a varied and adventurous career, having made 
voyages to Newfoundland and Java ; served under Sir Edvi^ard Spragge and 
taken part in two engagements with the Dutch ; lived over a year in Jamaica, 
and worked among the log-wood cutters of Campeachy. 

l84 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

The second and still more important undertaking of the 
buccaneers in the South Seas, which has acquired celebrity from 
the narratives of Dampier and Cowley, who both took part in it, 
had its origin in this wise. One John Cook, who like Dampier 
had returned from the first expedition across the Isthmus of Darien, 
had taken service with a Dutch privateer, and, a prize having been 
taken, was given the command of her, Dampier forming one of the 
crew. Subsequently, after various adventures. Cook sailed to 
Virginia and there fitted out another captured vessel for a cruise 
to the South Sea. Among the crew, besides Dampier, were such 
well-known characters as Ambrose Cowley, Edward Davis, and 
Lionel Wafer. Sailing on August 23rd, 1683, they made their 
way to the coast of Guinea, where they took a large Danish ship 
and transferred themselves into her, naming her the Batchelor's 
Delight. During the passage across the South Atlantic land was 
seen, according to Cowley in 47° or 47° 40'^, and was named by 
him (or by Hacke, the editor of his journal) Pepys Island, in 
honour of the celebrated Secretary of the Admiralty. According 
to Dampier and also Cowley's MS. journal, the land seen was the 
Sebald de Wert or Falkland Islands, and this has generally been 
accepted as the fact; but as the latitude does not agree it is 
probable that instead of an island they really sighted a projecting 
headland of the Patagonian coast. Owing to the statement in 
Cowley's journal an imaginary Pepys Island long figured in the 
maps in 47° S. 

After rounding Cape Horn out of sight of land, they touched 
at Juan Fernandez and, having been joined by a second ship 
under John Eaton, visited the Galapagos group. Of this the 
captains drew the first fairly accurate chart, which was pub- 
lished with Cowley's journal and long remained the standard 
authority on the group, A copy, taken from Hacke's collection, 
is here given. The buccaneers stayed some time in the islands, 
and gave names to all the principal of them, most of which have 
held their own to the present day. Dampier's and Cowley's 
journals also give good descriptions of the islands, and of the 
gigantic turtles from which they obtained their Spanish name. 

' The first latitude is given in the printed Journal, the latter in the MS. 




From the Galapagos the buccaneers sailed for the coast of 
New Spain (Mexico), where John Cook died, his place being 
taken by Edward Davis. Other parties of buccaneers (including 
one Townley, who had crossed the isthmus) as well as a trading 
ship from London, the Cygnet, Captain Swan, associated themselves 

The Galapagos, by Eaton and Cowley. 

(From Hacke'-s Collection oj Original Voyages^ \ 

from time to time with Davis, and many piratical cruises were 
made on the coasts of Peru, New Spain, and Central America, 
into the particulars of which it is unnecessary to enter. Meanwhile 
Cowley, who had transferred himself to Eaton's ship, sailed away 
with that commander to the East Indies, stopping on the way 

1 86 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

at Guam in the Ladrones, where the natives were treated with 
much barbarity, and proceeding thence to Canton and Batavia. 
Nothing of geographical importance occurred, and Cowley finally 
completed the circumnavigation of the globe on a Dutch ship. 

Davis joined, for a time, a band of French adventurers, among 
whom the best known are Le Picard, Grogniet, and Raveneau de 
Lussan, the last as the author of a journal describing his various 
adventures. The buccaneers now had a fleet of ten vessels, and 
were able to defy a Spanish fleet which came across them in the 
Bay of Panama. Davis, afterwards attacked and burnt the city 
of Leon in Nicaragua, and among other exploits of himself and of 
his confederates were the taking and ransoming of the city of 
Guayaquil, and the successful fight with two Spanish ships in the 
gulf of the same name. Before finally leaving the South Seas Davis 
paid two more visits to the Galapagos for the purpose of refitting 
and provisioning his ship, apparently visiting different islands from 
those touched at during his first stay. On the third occasion it 
has been supposed that he put in at the modern Charles or Floriana 
Island, which is either omitted or incorrectly placed in Cowley's 
chart. Hence Davis sailed south, and in 27° or 27° 20' S. came 
upon a small low sandy island with higher ground visible to the 
west. It was said by Wafer, who wrote an account of his voyages 
with Davis, to lie 500 leagues from Copiapo and 600 from the 
Galapagos. It was concluded by Burney, whose ideas have been 
adopted by many other writers, that the distance from the coast 
of South America was under-estimated and that the island was in 
reality Easter Island and was thus a new discovery by Davis. 
There are several difficulties in the way of this identification. The 
buccaneers were bound for Juan Fernandez, at which they sub- 
sequently touched, and, even allowing for the influence of the 
south-east trades, it is hardly likely that they would be carried so 
far out of their course as to sight Easter Island, especially as we 
are told that they had in the meanwhile, when in 12° 30' S., 
approached to about 150 leagues from the mainland of America, 
and that the course was afterwards east of south. Again, if Easter 
Island were the high land seen to the west, there is nothing to 
represent the island actually reached. The small islands of San 
Ambrosio and San Felix (discovered in 1574 by Juan Fernandez) 


are just, in the position in which we should expect to find Davis's 
island, apart from the statement (made it is true both by Wafer and 
Dampier) that the distance from South America was 500 leagues; 
while the respective positions of these islands agree well with the 
statements of the two writers. Neither, however, could be spoken 
of as a low sandy island, San Ambrosio reaching 930 feet, with 
precipitous cliffs, and San Felix 600 feet; so that the difficulties in 
the way of this identification would be, perhaps, as great as in the 
case of Easter Island. We must therefore be content to leave the 
question unsolved. 

From Juan Fernandez, after touching at Mocha and Santa 
Maria Islands, the buccaneers rounded Cape Horn without sighting 
land, though they fell in with many islands of ice, and sailed east 
so far that it was necessary afterwards to steer west 450 leagues 
(according to Wafer's account) in order to make the South American 
coast in the latitude of the Rio de la Plata. They arrived in the 
West Indies early in 1688, Davis afterwards returning to England. 

Dampier had not been with Davis during the cruises just 
related, having transferred himself to Swan's ship when off the 
coast of Nicaragua in 1685. This captain, accompanied for a time 
by Townley, remained cruising off the Mexican coast for some 
months longer, and Dampier's account contains a detailed 
description of many of the features of the coast as far as the 
entrance to the Gulf of California. The buccaneers had hopes 
of intercepting the Manila galleon, and for this purpose cruised 
for a time off Cape Corrientes, but without success. Other points 
visited, during the various expeditions undertaken in hopes of 
plunder or of obtaining supplies of provisions, were the Bay of 
Banderas, the Tres Marias Islands, and the rivers and towns of 
Mazatlan and Santiago, near the latter of which they experienced 
a disastrous defeat. On March 31st they finally left the American 
coast on the voyage across the Pacific, first steering south of west 
to 13", and afterwards keeping on west along that parallel in order 
to make the island of Guam, according to the general custom of 
those crossing the Pacific westward in those days. Here they 
learnt of the arrival of the Spanish Acapulco ship, but Swan 
hesitated to make any attempt upon it. Continuing their voyage, 
they reached the island of Mindanao, where they were well received 

1 88 



by the Sultan of the southern part of the island. A mutiny- 
eventually broke out, and a part of the crew, among whom was 
Dampier, sailed away leaving the captain behind. Passing round 
the south and west coast of Mindanao they went to Pulo Condore 
and made various cruises in the southern Chinese seas, afterwards 

William Dampier. 

visiting the Bashi Islands between Formosa and Luzon, and again 
cruising among the Philippines, and making their way to Celebes 
and Timor. 

So far the wanderings of this party of buccaneers had led them 
little off the beaten tracks, although Dampier's full descriptions of 

VIII] THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-17SO 189 

the countries and people visited contributed much to improve the 
knowledge of his countrymen respecting them. From Timor, 
however, they struck out a new line for themselves by determining 
to visit the coasts of New Holland, hitherto almost the exclusive 
preserve of Dutch navigators. On December 27, 1687, they 
passed the island of Rotti and stood south-south-west across the 
open sea lying before them towards the south. 

In the third chapter we have sketched the early voyages of 
the Dutch to the west coast of Australia, but before following 
Dampier and his companions thither we must briefly refer to the 
further relations maintained by the Dutch with that coast after 
the second great voyage of Tasman (1644). 

We have seen that the voyage just mentioned had for the first 
time completed the knowledge of the coasts of Australia from the 
north-west point of the continent to the Gulf of Carpentaria, so far 
as their main outline was concerned. Subsequent voyagers could 
therefore make no new geographical discovery of importance in 
these quarters, but on the other hand could do much to increase 
the knowledge of the country and its inhabitants, especially 
as no narrative of the 1644 voyage has come down to us. 
Four years after this, in 1648, a successful voyage along the 
north-west coast was made by Jan Janszoon Zeeuw in the yacht 
Leeuwerik (" Lark "), with the object of testing the possibility of 
carrying suppUes from Batavia to Banda by a course which should 
avoid the strong head winds of the direct route. A journal of the 
voyage was kept and a chart made by the skipper, but both have 
been lost. However, from the instructions laid down beforehand, 
and the letter sent home by the Governor-General in the following 
January, we may conclude that the ship sailed (June 28) south 
from the Strait of Sunda to about 32° or 33° S. and then, after 
turning east, coasted along the shores of New Holland until the 
most suitable point was reached for turning north for the Aru 
group. The voyage occupied two months and twenty-three days. 
Fuller details have been preserved of the voyages to the South- 
land undertaken in search of the survivors of the merchant ship 
Vergulde Draak, which sailed for the East Indies in 1655 with 
a rich cargo; and was lost on April 28, 1656, off the Australian 


coast, in 30° 40' S. The news was brought to Batavia by one of 
the ship's boats, and two small vessels — the Wttte Valk and the 
Goede Hoop — were at once despatched for the purpose of rescuing 
the remainder of the survivors. Both vessels reached the South 
land — the Goede Hoop at the very spot where the wreck was said 
to have taken place — but, meeting with bad weather, returned 
without effecting anything. Early in the following year instruc- 
tions were given to the skipper of the Vink to touch at the South- 
land on the voyage from the Cape of Good Hope, but after 
sighting the land he was compelled by violent storms to desist 
from the search. In January, 1658, the ships Wakende £ oet sjnd 
Emeloord were sent from Batavia to make further search, and also 
to execute a survey of the coast. The journals of the skippers, 
Samuel Volkersen and Aucke Pieterszoon Jonck, have been pre- 
served, as well as various charts of the coast of Eendrachtsland 
made during the voyage. The ships were separated, but both 
reached the scene of the disaster independently, and sent boats 
ashore, firing shots also as signals. The only trace discovered 
either of men or wreck was in the form of planks, etc., evidently 
derived from the lost ship. Thus ended the further search, but in 
the same year, 1658, the South-land was again struck — in 3i|° S. 
— by the flute Elhiirgh, J. P. Peereboom master, natives being 
subsequently seen near Cape Leeuwin and specimens procured 
of a hammer used by them and of a red gum employed in fixing 
its head. Twenty years later (1678) a further examination of a 
portion of the north-west coast was made by Jan van der Wall 
during a voyage from Ternate to Batavia. Apart from a reference 
to the voyage in a despatch by the Governor-General of the Dutch 
East Indies, the only evidence respecting it is the chart made 
during the voyage, which lays down the coast line from a point 
due south of Rotti (? Cape Leveque) to the modern Exmouth Gulf. 
This was the last of the Dutch voyages prior to the first visit of 
Dampier to the coast of New Holland, to which we must now 

Sailing due south from the west end of Timor, the Cygnet 
passed a shoal in about 13° 50' S. and fell in with the land of 
New Holland in 16° 50', on January 4, 1688, afterwards running 

VIII] THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-17SO 191 

along the coast to the east and north-east. Dampier considered 
that New Holland was placed in the then existing charts some 
40 leagues too near the Archipelago, but he admits the bare 
possibility that the ship had been carried westward by currents. 
While off the New Holland coast, he had several opportunities of 
observing the natives, of whom he gives some account, calling 
them the " miserablest people in the world," poorer even than 
the " Hodmadods " (Hottentots). The country was found to be 
all low land with sand-hills by the sea-side, and woods — not 
particularly thick — further inland. Good water was procured 
from wells dug in the sand, but no stream or springs were 
seen. The ship was taken into a small sandy cove, where at the 
neap tides it was left high and dry, and it was therefore possible 
to clean it, the sails being also mended and a supply of water 
taken in. 

Early in March they set sail for Cape Comorin, intending to 
visit the Cocos or Keeling Islands in 12° 12' S., but passed that 
latitude without sighting them, though in 10° 30' they came upon 
a small island, Christmas Island, of which the existence was then 
not generally known and of which Dampier's scanty account was 
for long the only one extant^. A boat was sent to look for water, 
but, though a stream was seen, the high sea prevented the crew 
from reaching it, though a landing was effected elsewhere, for a 
tree was cut down and a number of land crabs (which still swarm 
on the island) were caught. 

After sailing along the south-west coast of Sumatra the Cygnet 
reached the Nicobars, where Dampier, at his own desire, was 
put ashore with two others, Messrs Hall and Ambrose. During 
the passage to Atjeh in a native canoe they were nearly lost in a 
storm, and reached the land half dead with fatigue. After various 
other adventures, in the course of which he visited, among other 
places, Tongking, Dampier reached the English factory at Ben- 
coolen, and served there as a gunner in the fort. In January, 
1 69 1, he sailed for England, and arrived in the Downs on Sep- 
tember 16 of that year, more than 12 years after he had last left 

1 Documents brought to light in 191 1 prove that the discovery and naming 
of Christmas Island were due to Captain William Minors, in 1643 (see Geogr. 
Journal, Vol. xxxvii. p. 281). 


his native country, and eight since he had sailed from Virginia 
with Cook. 

Dam pier's narrative, first pubHshed in 1697, is noteworthy for 
the fullness and general accuracy of its information, and it brought 
him into considerable notice in England, so that, having formed 
the design of sailing on a new voyage of discovery, he gained the 
support of the Earl of Pembroke, then Lord High Admiral, and 
was placed in command of His Majesty's ship Roebuck, provisioned 
for a voyage of 20 months. The voyage, therefore, supplies one 
of the earliest examples of a government expedition sent out 
purely for purposes of discovery. The Roebuck sailed from the 
Downs on January 14, 1699, and, having touched at the Canaries 
and Cape Verdes, made the coa!st of Brazil at Bahia on March 25. 
Thence, after a stay of over a week, which gave Dampier an 
opportunity of learning something of the country, its products and 
trade, the voyagers sailed for the coast of New Holland without 
attempting to touch at the Cape, the extent of ocean crossed 
without sight of land covering, according to Dampier's reckoning, 
1 14° of longitude. Signs of land were seen early in July, in the 
form of floating weeds, at about 90 leagues distance, and kept 
increasing until land was finally sighted on August ist in about 
26° S.^ Not till the 7th was a suitable anchorage found, this 
being near the mouth of the principal opening on the west coast 
of Austraha, named by Dampier Shark's Bay — a name which it 
still continues to bear. His reckoning placed the longitude of 
the mouth of the bay in about 87° E. of the Cape of Good Hope, 
which led him to suppose that the charts then in use placed the 
coast line some 195 leagues too far east. In this, however, he 
was mistaken, for the actual difference in longitude is about 94^°. 

The serious work of the voyage now began, for the commander 
had proposed to himself to make an accurate survey of the coast 
with its various shoals and rocks, hoping also to come upon some 
fertile land which might be a suitable field for English enterprise. 
For some weeks he cruised along the coast, occasionally meeting 
with natives, but disappointed in his hopes of meeting with a 

' During the interval which had elapsed since Dampier's first visit, the 
Dutch expedition under Willem de Vlaniingh had surveyed this coast, in- 
cluding the Shark's Bay of Dampier. It will be spoken of later. 

VIII] THE SOUTH SEAS, 16SO-1750 193 

good water supply. The barren nature of the country lent little 
attraction to the voyage, apart from the pleasure derived from 
exploring a new country, however uninviting^ As usual, Dampier's 
journal contains an accurate picture of the nature of the country 
and its productions, both vegetable and animal. The most 
attractive objects observed were the flowers — of various colours, 
especially blue, and some of them fragrant. Among other veget- 
able products were the seeds of Abrus precatorius, the " ratti " of 
India, where Dampier had seen them used for weighing gold. 

The voyage was rendered difficult and dangerous by the 
numerous rocks and shoals, and by the strong tides, but in spite 
of this a fairly accurate knowledge was obtained of the coast for a 
distance of 300 leagues, and Tasman's chart corrected in many 
particulars. Dampier had an idea that a passage eastward into 
the Great South Sea might exist hereabouts, but he was forced to 
defer further exploration owing to the need of proceeding to some 
more hospitable coast ; his men — who throughout were half-hearted 
as regards the geographical objects of the voyage — being much 
in need of fresh provisions and water. He therefore left New 
Holland and early in September sailed northward for Timor. 

After sailing round the greater part of Timor, and filling up 
his water casks in spite of the suspicious attitude of the Dutch 
Governor, Dampier proceeded on his voyage (December 12, 
1699) in the execution of the second principal item of his 
programme — the exploration of the north coast of New Guinea 
and the lands adjoining. On New Year's Day the coast of New 
Guinea was sighted at a point due east of Ceram, and several 
weeks were spent in navigating the shoal waters off the north-west 
end of the great island. On February 4 the Roebuck was off the 
supposed north-west point of New Guinea (really part of a small 
independent island) and then passed through the strait between 
New Guinea and Waigiu, since known from its discoverer as 
Dampier Strait. After passing near the Schouten Islands the 
voyagers stood out to sea, sailing nearly due east and sighting no 
land until February 24, when an island was seen to the southward 
and named Matthias, it being that saint's day. The island does 
1 In the interval between Dampier's two visits, Willem de Vlamingh had 
examined the same coast (see p. 208). 

H. 13 


not seem to have been sighted by former navigators and the name 
given by Dampier is still retained. Dampier did not land on the 
island, and it has remained until quite recent years one of the least 
known of the whole Archipelago east of New Guinea. Steering 
south-east, Dampier put into a bay on the still imperfectly known 
north-east coast of New Ireland, named by him Slinger's Bay from 
an assault made by the natives with stones, and then sailed past 
the various islands lying off the main island to the east, until the 
latter was seen to fall away to the southward. In this direction 
no previous navigator had traced the coast line, so that Dampier 
had now an opportunity, of which he was not slow to avail himself, 
of making some new discoveries. Passing the south point of New 
Ireland, which he named Cape St George, he entered the mouth 
of the strait between New Ireland and New Britain, but not far 
enough to recognise it as a strait. He therefore gave it the name 
St George's Bay. Continuing his voyage, he for the first time 
traced the south coast of New Britain, on which Capes Dampier 
and Roebuck on either side of Montague Bay still record his visit. 
In Montague Bay (so named by Dampier in honour of his patron) 
the voyagers were able to hold some intercourse with the natives, 
and to obtain a supply of wood and water as well as some hogs. 
The land was mountainous and woody, full of rich valleys, and 
the soil promised excellently for plantations. Sailing hence on 
March 22, and witnessing a terrific volcanic eruption on an island 
off the coast, Dampier entered the strait between New Britain and 
New Guinea, and thus for the first time proved the former to be 
an independent island, which he named Nova Britannia, calling 
the most prominent point on the coast of New Guinea opposite. 
King William's Cape. He did not pass through the main channel 
of the strait, but turned north between the west end of New Britain 
and the island of Umboi, to which he gave the name of Sir George 
Rook. The further course lay among the chain of islands which 
adjoins the north coast of New Guinea, some of which contained 
other active volcanoes, but after passing these no attempt at 
further discovery was made, the homeward voyage being now 

Again passing between New Guinea and Jilolo, the Roebuck 
took the route to Timor between Ceram and Buru, and then 





proceeded to Batavia. After touching at the Cape and St Helena, 
the Roebuck made the island of Ascension, but here sprung a leak, 
which resisted all attempts to stop it, so that it was found neces- 
sary to abandon the ship, the crew being eventually taken by three 
EngHsh men-of-war to Barbados (May 8, 1701), whence Dampier 
returned home on board the Canterbury, East Indiaman. 

The voyage, though it did not lead directly to the advantages 
to the British nation hoped for by Dampier by the opening 
of a profitable trade with the tropical countries visited, had 
been far from fruitless in results from a geographical point of 
view. The discovery of the insular character of New Britain was 
perhaps the most important of these, although by joining New 
Britain and New Ireland, the inner sides of which still remained 
unknown, Dampier retained one error in regard to these islands 
which was not finally swept away till many years afterwards, no 
effort being made at the time by the British Government to follow 
up his discoveries in far eastern waters. 

Dampier's next voyage was undertaken under different circum- 
stances, which rendered it of much less importance from the point 
of view of discovery. War had broken out between England and 
Spain, and the opportunity was seized by British merchants for a 
privateering venture into the South Seas, from which they expected 
to derive much profit at the expense of the enemy. Two ships 
were fitted out, the St George, under Dampier's command, and 
the Fame, under Captain Pulling. A disagreement between the 
captains led to the withdrawal of the latter with his ship, but at 
the last moment a small vessel, the Cinque Forts, took its place. 
The expedition left the Downs on April 7, 1703, and sailed round 
Cape Horn to Juan Fernandez. The ships then cruised for some 
months on the American coast, taking a few prizes ; but the opera- 
tions seem to have been badly planned, while Dampier's violent 
temper caused a quarrel between himself and Captain Stradling 
of the Cinque Forts, which led to their separation in the Bay of 
Panama (May 7, 1704). StradHng's ship was ill prepared for the 
lengthy voyage home, and after touching at Juan Fernandez, where 
the famous Alexander Selkirk — the original of Robinson Crusoe — ■ 
was put on shore, she foundered off the American coast, only the 
Captain and six or seven men being saved. In spite of tiie alleged 

VIII] THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 I97 

unseaworthiness of his ship Datnpier persisted in remaining in the 
Pacific, and his obstinacy caused him to be left by two other parties 
of his men, who severally made their way across the Pacific, one 
under his mate, afterwards Captain Clipperton, the other under 
William Funnell, who wrote an interesting account of the voyage — 
the only full narrative published, and therefore our principal 
authority respecting the whole course of the undertaking. Clipper- 
ton made his way to the Philippines, and ultimately to Macao, 
where his company dispersed, while Dampier, after plundering the 
small town of Puna and taking a Spanish vessel, sailed in this for 
the East Indies, where the vessel was seized by the Dutch, and 
the crew were forced to, shift for themselves. Funnell's narrative 
allows us to follow the doings of his party in greater detail. On 
February 2, 1705, they sailed from Amapalla Bay on the coast of 
Central America, and, standing somewhat south of west until 
10° N. was reached, then bore away west -north-west with the help 
of the trade wind in order to make the island of Guam. The crew 
were on short rations throughout and endured much misery, but 
at last (April 11) sighted an island in 13° N. to which the name 
Magon is given. Guam was sighted but not touched at, and a 
course was then shaped for New Guinea, a group of inhabited 
islands not marked on the existing charts being passed on the 
way. In passing between New Guinea and Jilolo Funnell missed 
the usual passage, but after some trouble found one further west 
among a multitude of islands, naming it St John's Strait. At 
Amboina, which was reached on May 31, the ship and all the 
effects of the party were seized, and after some detention the men 
were sent to Batavia, whence they obtained a passage home via 
the Cape in the Dutch East India Fleet. 

Funnell's narrative contains a large amount of information on 
the countries visited and their animal and vegetable productions. 
His stay at Amboina enabled him to collect a good many details 
respecting that island, and, among other points, he refers to the 
bird-of-paradise skins which there formed an article of trade, but 
of the country of origin of which he was ignorant. 

Dampier's conduct of this expedition was not such as to 
encourage the merchants to put him again in command, although 
he was once more employed on a similar venture, this time in the 

198 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

capacity of pilot, for which his long experience of navigation in 
the South Seas eminently fitted him. In June, 1708, a company 
of Bristol merchants placed two ships, the Duke and Dutchess, 
under the orders of Captain Woodesj Rogers (who sailed in the 
Duke) for the purpose of cruising against the Queen's enemies on 
the coasts of Peru and Mexico. The Dutchess was commanded by 
Captain Stephen Courtney. The expedition was more successful 
than many from the point of view of plunder, but the scheme of 
the voyage was too similar to others of its class for any decided 
gain to geography to result from it. The chief exploits were the 
taking of Guayaquil in Peru, and of the smaller Acapulco galleon 
off the coast of Mexico. 

On touching at Juan Fernandez, Alexander Selkirk was rescued 
from his life of sohtude, which had then lasted over four years, and 
some account of his experiences is given in Woodes Rogers's nar- 
rative. The Galapagos were twice visited, and Rogers obtained 
some information from a Spanish prisoner regarding the island 
known to the Spaniards as Santa Maria de la Aguada, which he 
identified with that visited by Davis the buccaneer, and which, as 
we have seen above, was probably the modern Charles Island. 
The northernmost point reached was on the coast of California, 
whence the Pacific was crossed to Guam and the Dutch East 
Indies, the circumnavigation of the globe being completed (1711) 
by the Cape of Good Hope. 

The next of the British voyages of circumnavigation were those 
of Captains CHpperton and Shelvocke, which were undertaken after 
an interval of eight years, with similar objects to the last. The 
Speedwell and Success were fitted out in 17 18, it being at first 
intended that they should sail under the Emperor's commission, 
with crews in part composed of Flemish sailors. War, however, 
again breaking out between Great Britain and Spain, the expedi- 
tion eventually sailed (17 19) under a commission from King 
George. Shelvocke had been intended for the chief command, 
but was replaced by Clipperton — a slight which naturally caused 
some soreness in his colleague. 

The ships soon separated in a gale, and only met again — 
and that accidentally — after reaching the South Seas, so that 
the voyages were really quite independent. Captain Clipperton 

VIII] THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-I750 I99 

sailed in the Success, and during the passage through the Strait 
of Magellan made some attempt to discover a passage southward 
into the South Sea through Tierra del Fuego, but without success. 
After taking many prizes in South American waters he proceeded 
to the coast of Mexico, where he fell in with Shelvocke, and crossed 
the Pacific via Guam to China. At Amoy the crew mutinied, 
and soon afterwards dispersed, the Success having been con- 
demned and sold at Macao through their machinations. Clipper- 
ton took passage in his old ship to Batavia, and thence sailed for 
Europe, reaching Galway in Ireland in June, 1722, in broken 
health, and only surviving his return a week. His death was said 
to be due in part to distress at the failure of the enterprise, 
though his owners were in some measure recompensed for their 
outlay by a portion of the prize-money which he had sent home 
from China. 

Shelvocke's voyage was in some ways more adventurous, but 
still more unsuccessful than Clipperton's. Disagreements broke 
out among his crew, leading at times almost to open mutiny, and 
his conduct of the voyage met with severe censure fiom one at 
least of his associates, though the charges made against him by 
personal enemies cannot be regarded as fully proved, while his 
own account must likewise be accepted with caution. After a 
stay of some da)s on the coast of Brazil the Speedwell had a 
stormy passage through Le Maire Strait and was carried south 
to 61° 30''. Returning north, an unsuccessful attempt was made 
on the island of Chiloe, then but little known to English sailors. 
After cruising on the American coast for some time, Shelvocke 
proceeded to Juan Fernandez, where he lost his ship, but, in 
spite of the mutinous conduct of his crew, in time succeeded in 
building a small vessel, in which he made a perilous voyage 
to the mainland. Attacks were made on various Spanish settle- 
ments, and prizes taken, which enabled the voyagers to make 
good the loss of their ship. After the meeting with Clipperton 
on the Mexican coast, negotiations took place with a view to 
joining company, but they came to nothing. Further hardships 

1 A noteworthy incident in this part of the voyage was the shooting of an 
albatross by Simon Hatley — an occurrence which supplied Coleridge with the 
-roundwork of the " Rime of the Ancient Mariner." 

200 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

and adventures awaited the diminished crew, but the taking of 
a large Spanish ship at last put them in better circumstances, and 
it was resolved to sail for Canton, the coast of Cahfornia being 
first visited. Here friendly intercourse was opened with the 
natives, of whom Shelvocke gives a very favourable description. 
On this coast a deposit was discovered containing grains which 
strongly resembled gold-dust, but as the sample taken was sub- 
sequently lost, the truth of the matter was never made clear. 
At no leagues from Cape San Lucas an island was sighted, 
which is spoken of by Shelvocke as a "discovery," but it was 
afterwards shown by Burney to be the Roca Partida seen by 
Villalobos and, later, by Spilbergen. On the voyage and at 
Canton further troubles were experienced, and, having sold the 
ship at the latter port, Shelvocke took passage home in one of 
the East Indiamen then about to return from China,, landing at 
Dover in July, 1722. He was prosecuted by his employers for 
alleged fraud, but eventually compounded with them. His 
narrative of the voyage, pubHshed in 1726, was written with a 
view to presenting his case in a favourable light. 

During Shelvocke's first cruises on the Pacific coast of South 
America several of his crew, including two of the superior officers 
Hatley and Betagh, were taken prisoners by the Spaniards. 
Betagh returned to England after two years' captivity, during 
which he was able to collect information as to Shelvocke's 
proceedings, and in 1728 pubHshed a book which traverses the 
latter's statements in almost every particular. It also contains 
much information on the then state of Peru and Chile, their 
trade, and the manner of working the mines ; a striking account 
being given of the overland trade from Buenos Aires and of 
the activity of French interlopers from St Malo on the coast 
of Chile, which had led to the despatch against them by the 
Spanish king of a squadron under their compatriot Martinet. 

With this voyage the despatch of English expeditions to the 
South Seas ceased for a time, some twenty years elapsing before 
the most famous voyage of the whole series — that of Commo- 
dore Anson— took place. It will be noticed that for a number 
of years all the voyages to this part of the world were of a 
privateering character, no enterprise being undertaken in the 

Viri] THE SOUTH SEAS, 16SO-1750 20I 

South Seas for purposes of legitimate trade. This was in part 
due to the formation, in 17 11, of the famous South Sea Com- 
pany, to which was injudiciously granted the exclusive privilege, 
among British subjects, of carrying out voyages to those seas. 
The Company consisted not of merchants, but of iinanciers who 
had taken over a large part of the public debt of the nation, in 
part return for which these extravagant privileges were granted. 
They were thus Httle fitted or disposed to carry out commercial 
enterprises in distant regions, and while debarring their country- 
men from the benefit of such undertakings, made absolutely no 
use of the monopoly granted to them. It was therefore only 
the existence of a state of war which gave an opportunity for 
South Sea voyages, which were thus, as we have said, commonly 
at this time undertaken for the sake of plunder. 

Anson's expedition, of which we have now to speak, was one of 
this class, war having been again declared with Spain in 1739; 
though it differed in being a Government expedition carried out 
with ships of the Royal Navy, under the command of regular 
officers. Geographically, like so many of the voyages of the 
period, it added little in the way of positive knowledge, but it 
acquired celebrity by reason of the high qualities of its com- 
mander (who possessed an unusual influence over his inferior 
officers and crews), by the great difficulties and dangers sur- 
mounted, and by the vast amount of treasure which was captured 
from the enemy. As originally fitted out, the expedition consisted 
of six ships and two tenders, the flagship being the Centurion, of 
60 guns, which carried a crew of 513. The squadron sailed from 
the Isle of Wight on September 18, 1740, and in March, 1741, 
was off the coast of Tierra del Fuego, having touched, among 
other places, at Port St Juhan on the coast of Patagonia. Le 
Maire Strait was passed without difficulty, but disasters now 
followed fast upon one another. Heavy gales were experienced 
which severely tried the rigging and equipment of the ships, while 
scurvy, that bane of seamen in those days, raged among the 
crews. Of the seven ships which passed through the strait, only 
four — the Centurion, the Gloucester, the Trial sloop, and the Anne 
pink — reached Juan Fernandez, the first appointed rendezvous 
in the Pacific, and these in the most miserable condition. Some 

202 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

had been driven back through the strait, while the Wager, whose 
commander had incautiously ventured ^ear a lee shore, was 
wrecked between two small islands five miles from the mainland. 
The adventures of the crew, a part of whom made their way 
back amid great hardships to the coast of Brazil, have been 
rendered famous by the narrative of the Hon. John Byron, 
afterwards commodore and commander of an expedition round 
the world, who sailed in the Wager as a midshipman. An 
account was also given by Bulkeley and Cummins, the ship's 
gunner and carpenter respectively. 

The stay at Juan Fernandez enabled the voyagers to recruit 
to some extent, and the main object of the expedition, the 
raiding of the Spanish settlements, commenced. The Trial and 
Anne were soon condemned, and the Centurion and Gloucester 
alone remained of the original squadron. After taking and 
plundering Payta, Anson proceeded to Acapulco, where, however, 
nothing was to be had in the way of plunder, as the annual fair, 
held on the arrival of the Manila galleon, was then over. The 
two ships sailed for China on April 30, 1742, but both were in 
a rotten condition, and the Gloucester became so leaky that she 
had to be abandoned and destroyed. Sickness had played havoc 
with the crews before the Centurion reached Tinian in the 
Ladrones or Mariannes, the course sailed having brought the 
voyagers somewhat north of Guam. At Tinian they again re- 
freshed, but came near a serious disaster, the ship, with a portion 
of the crew only on board, being carried out to sea by a gale. 
The narrative of the voyage contains many particulars respecting 
the nature and production of the Ladrone group, from which 
they finally sailed on October 22, 1742, sighting Formosa en 
route for Macao. Here Anson's firmness procured him from 
the authorities at Canton the necessary facilities for a thoroiigh 
refit, and enabled him to carry out his long-formed design of 
cruising for the Acapulco galleon. At length the vessel, N. S. de 
Covadonga, was encountered off the Philippines on June 21, 1743, 
and, having been taken after an obstinate fight, in spite of the 
overwhelming superiority of the Spaniards both in men and arma- 
ment, was found to contain a vast amount of treasure in coin 
and bulhon. It again proved necessary to proceed to a friendly 

Vlll] THE SOUTH SEAS, 16SO-1750 203 

port in order to refit, and this time Anson took the much- 
battered Centurion up the Canton river to the Bocca Tigris, 
successfully resisting the claim of the authorities for port dues on 
the ground that his ship was a man-of-war. 

The homeward voyage was begun on December 7, the ship 
passing between Bangka and Sumatra on the 29th, and through 
the*Sunda Straits on January 3, 1744. Christmas Island was 
sighted on the 15th, and Table Bay reached on March 12, the 
Centurion finally anchoring at St Helen's in the Isle of Wight 
on June 16, after a -voyage which had lasted four years. 

The celebrity which has always attached to Anson's voyage 
arose largely from its success from the point of view of plunder ; 
from the perils and hardships successfully overcome during four 
years' incessant battling with adverse circumstances ; and in part 
no doubt from the unusually full and informing accounts of the 
voyage which were published after its completion. 

We must now glance rapidly at the South Sea voyages of 
other nations during the same period — less numerous, it is 
true, and less important than those of the British adventurers, 
though in many cases their failure to attain the celebrity of the 
latter was no doubt due to the want of capable chroniclers. In 
the case of the French, the most important voyages were again 
the indirect outcome of the hardy exploits of the Buccaneers, 
which turned the attention of more responsible persons at home 
to the South Seas as a field for enterprise. The first passage of 
the French freebooters into the Pacific by the Straits of Magellan 
took place in 1684, and for some years from this date these men 
continued their depredations on the coasts of Chile and Peru. 
Some at length made their way back to France with tales of the rich 
booty to be made in those seas, and as France was then at war 
with Spain, the idea of a French Government expedition against 
the Spanish South American colonies soon took shape. The 
command was given to the Comte de Gennes, who sailed from 
La Rochelle dn June 3, 1695, with a squadron consisting in all of 
six vessels, of which the two largest were the Faucon and the 
Sokil d'Affique. On the outward voyage De Gennes touched 
at the coast of West Africa, where various French commercial 


companies had been at work for many years, and he there 
effected the capture from the EngHsh of Fort James on the 
Gambia, although it was shortly afterwards restored by the Peace 
of Ryswick. Proceeding on the voyage by the Cape Verdes and 
Ascension, the squadron touched at Rio, and finally entered the 
Strait of Magellan on February 11, 1696. Cape Froward was 
doubled on February 26, but contrary winds prevented further 
progress, so that after returning to take shelter in a bay which they 
named Baie Frangaise, and making another ineffectual effort to 
advance, it was at last determined to give up the attempt. The 
straits were left early in April and the return voyage made by way 
of Cayenne and the West Indies, the voyage thus proving an entire 
failure so far as its main object was concerned. 

In spite of the small success of this venture, projects were 
soon set on foot for a renewed attempt, a company being formed 
(the " Compagnie Royale de la Mer Pacifique ") and a squadron 
fitted out, of which the command was again offered to De Gennes. 
He at first accepted, but difficulties and delays occurred which led 
him to resign his commission, and the command was then given 
to an experienced captain in the merchant service, the celebrated 
Beauchene Gouin (or Gouin de Beauchene) who had a few years 
before (1693) commanded one of the French frigates despatched 
by the Government to attack the Dutch whaling fleet in Spits- 
bergen waters. The number of ships was also reduced to three, 
the commander sailing in the Phelipaux, while the Maurepas was 
commanded by Lieut, de Terville. 

This expedition, which sailed from La Rochelle in December, 
1698, met with better success than the preceding. During the 
passage of the straits, which was not made without the usual 
difficulties and delays, Beauchene entered into friendly relations 
with the natives of Tierra del Fuego, and while at Elizabeth Bay, 
beyond the furthest point reached by De Gennes, sent his boats 
to explore a channel opening off the main strait to the south. 
He gave French names to various islands, bays, and waterways, 
and took possession of the island of Louis 'le Grand (south-west 
of Tierra del Fuego), and the neighbouring Baie Dauphine. At 
length, after more than seven months' difiicult navigation within 
the straits, the South Sea was reached on January 21, 1700. The 


French were received with suspicion by the Spaniards along the 
coast, and at Valdivia the Maurepas was treacherously fired on, 
but at Arica some small amount of trade was done. The Galapagos 
were visited, but in view of the bad condition of the ships it was 
then determined to begin the homeward voyage. Being carried 
south of the western entrance of the straits by currents, Beauchene 
made the passage round Cape Horn, which he proved to lie in a 
lower latitude than that (58° 30' or 59°) then shown on the charts. 
He passed near the Falklands, giving his name to one of the 
south-eastern islands of the group, which appeared to be not 
marked on the maps. Finally, after touching at the coast of 
Brazil, he reached La Rochelle on August 6, 1701, after an 
absence of nearly three years. 

Soon after this, French ships began to frequent' the coasts of 
South America in large numbers, the Spanish throne being now 
occupied by a grandson of Louis XVI, so that the rivalry of the 
two nations was for a time checked. The port of St Malo took 
the lead in sending out these ships, several of which touched at the 
Falkland Islands, still imperfectly known, which from this cir- 
cumstance began to be called by the French name " Malouines," 
which they bore for some time. Besides the ships which made 
their way to the Pacific through the straits or round Cape Horn, 
there were many which crossed the Pacific on the return voyage 
from China, without however adding much to the knowledge of 
that ocean. The commercial activity displayed by the French 
at this time had led, in the last years of the seventeenth century, 
to the formation of a " Compagnie de la Chine," on whose behalf 
the Amphitrite had made a pioneer voyage to China in 1698^- 

The relations thus inaugurated were kept up with vigour for 
some years, and the Pacific route was often adopted for the home- 
ward voyage. Thus in 1709 the St Antoine, commanded by 
M. Frondac, crossed from China by a more northerly route than 
1 The voyage of the Amphitrite is the first of the French voyages to China 
of which definite information exists, but it is probable that others had been 
made previously. In 1667 Jean Baptiste de la Feuillade, captain of a Rouen 
ship, seems, to have made a voyage to the far east, afterwards crossing the 
Tacific, and in spite of the wreck of his ship near the Strait of Magellan, 
appears to have continued his voyage across the Atlantic in a small vessel 
made out of the remains of his own. 

206 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-1750 [CHAP. 

was then usual, striking the coast of California. Of the vo3'ages 
by the south of South America some account is to be found in 
the works of Pere Louis Feuillee and of Amedee Frangois Frezier. 
The former went out in 1707 in the capacity of mathematician 
and botanist to the French king, and between that year and 17 12 
made scientific observations on the coasts of Chile and Peru, 
which he published after his return to France. Frezier was an 
engineer officer who sailed in 1712 in the St Joseph, a ship of 
St Malo commanded by M. Duchene Battas. He seems to have 
been commissioned to collect information on the places he 
visited, and his narrative, published in Paris in 17 16, contains 
much of interest on the natural features and inhabitants of Chile 
and Peru, besides giving a map and plans of the coasts and 
harbours touched at. In particular he describes the Chonos of 
Chiloe Island and its neighbourhood, and a supposed race of 
giants dwelling further inland. From information collected from 
various French captains, Frezier made a chart of the southern 
extremity of South America and its archipelago of islands, which 
was in many ways an improvement on those previously existing. 
In 1 7 14 Fre'zier sailed for France in the Mariane, and during the 
passage of the Atlantic touched at the small island of Trinidad, 
which, however, he designates Ascengao, as he imagined, like 
others of his time, that there were two separate islands in this 
part of the Atlantic, and that the one touched at was not the real 
Trinidad. The fact that but one island exists in reality had been 
previously recognised by Dr Edmund Halley, who had touched 
there during his voyage for magnetic research in 1698-1700. 

Among the French voyages, that of M. Marcand in the Sainte 
Barbe deserves mention from the fact that a new exit from 
Magellan Strait to the Pacific was discovered, to the south of 
the ordinary channel. This was in 1713, and an account of the 
discovery is given by Frezier in his book. In the following year 
a voyage round Cape Horn to Peru and across the Pacific to 
Guam and China was made by a French ship, name and captain 
unknown, in which one Le Gentil de la Barbinais went, probably 
in a mercantile capacity. He wrote an account of the voyage in 
the form of letters, but these do not contain anything of much 
value. He refers to the large number of French ships then 


frequenting the coasts of South America and mentions that La 
Dkouverte, commanded by M. du Socage of Havre, had during 
the voyage to China discovered in 4° N. an isolated rock sur- 
rounded by a sandbank, and had named it Isle de la Passion. 
This would seem to be the islet touched at in 1787 by Mr Charles 
Duncan, which appears in some maps as Duncan Island. 

The most noteworthy French voyage of this period, however, 
was that of Lozier Bouvet, not so much on account of the actual 
results at the time, as from the influence which it exerted on 
subsequent explorations in the Southern Ocean. Bouvet was a 
captain in the service of the French Compagnie des Indes, who, 
moved by the recollection of the reputed discovery of land by 
Gonneville south of the Atlantic or Indian Ocean in the early 
part of the i6th century, pressed to be entrusted with an expedi- 
tion for its re-discovery, pointing out the use that might be made 
of such a land as a point of call on the way to India. His 
project was an ambitious one, as it also embraced exploration in 
the Southern Pacific Ocean and an eventual circumnavigation of 
the globe, much on the lines afterwards followed by Captain 
Cook. Gonneville's land was supposed to lie south or south- 
west of the Cape of Good Hope, where the maps of the day 
showed a " Terre de Vue," based, it is true, on no better founda- 
tion than the hypothetical representation of the Southern Con- 
tinent in 1 6th century maps, on some of which a "Terra de 
Vista" figured in this position. Bouvet's plea at last prevailed, 
and he was granted the use of two ships, the Aigle and the 
Marie, a second captain. Hay by name, being associated in the 
command. They left Lorient in July, 1738, and after touching at 
the Brazilian coast, reached the scene of their search in November. 
Much hindrance was caused by fog as well as by dense masses of 
sea-weed. Although summer in those latitudes, the weather was 
cold, and on reaching 48° S. the first ice was met with, icebergs 
of vast size and in large numbers, as well as fields of broken ice, 
rendering navigation dangerous. On January 1, 1739, a high, 
snow-clad land was sighted, and to its most prominent point, in 
honour of the day, Bouvet gave the name Cape Circumcision. 
It afforded no chance of landing, and, as the fog and ice con- 
tinued to impede navigation, the ships sailed north-east, giving 

208 THE SOUTH SEAS, 1650-I75O [CHAP. 

up the search for more land when 43° S. had been reached. The 
Aigle proceeded to Edunion, while the Marie returned to France, 
reaching Lorient on June 24, 1739. There is little doubt that the 
land discovered in the' South Atlantic was that re-discovered in 
our own time by the German expedition in the Valdivia — a quite 
small island to which Bouvet's name has fitly been given. The 
reports brought back by Bouvet had an important influence on 
the plans of Cook's second voyage. 

It remains to speak of two or three Dutch voyages of this 
period, particularly that under Commodore Roggeveen in 1721-22. 
Before dealing with this we must touch upon two voyages, later 
than those mentioned on pp. 189-90, by which some further 
addition to the knowledge of the Australian coasts was mada 
The first was that of Willem de Vlamingh, which sailed for the 
East Indies in 1696, via Tristan da Cunha, the islands of 
Amsterdam and St Paul, and the west coast of Austraha. The 
commander sailed in the Geelvink (a name which has attained 
almost equal celebrity with his own), while, of the two other ships, 
one had as skipper Gerrit Collaert, the other Cornells de Vlamingh, 
son of the commodore. Sketches were made both of the islands 
and of various points of the South-land visited, and a survey of 
the whole western coast of Austraha — more accurate than any 
previously in existence — was executed. This showed for the first 
time the belt of islands enclosing Shark Bay — itself discovered 
by De Vlamingh — and various other features, while the Swan 
river, destined later to give its name to the first British settlement 
on this coast, was visited, three of the black swans to which it 
owed its appellation being captured alive. Excellent charts 
showing the results of the voyage were made after its completion 
by Isaac de Graaf, the cartographer to the Dutch East India 
Company. An interesting point connected with this voyage was 
the discovery of the pewter plate affixed to a pole, which had 
been set up in 16 16 in commemoration of Dirck Hartog's visit 
to this coast (see p. 79, ante). It was brought away as a curiosity, 
but another was left bearing a copy of the original inscription with 
a statement of the circumstances of De Vlamingh's visits 

1 De Vlamingh's record was found, half buried in sand, by Captain Hamelin 
of the French Expedition of 1801, and was by him fixed to a new post. In 


The next Dutch voyage of importance to this part of the world 
was that of Maarten van Delft, commanding the Vossenbosch, 
with which sailed two other vessels with skippers hailing from 
Hamburg. These ships sailed from Batavia to Timor, which 
was left on March 2nd, 1705. Land was struck near Cape van 
Diemen (the north-west point of Melville Island) and the coast of 
this island and of the Coburg peninsula was examined with some 
care, the resulting map being in many ways an improvement on 
Tasman's chart of this coast. One of the vessels penetrated 
some distance into Dundas Strait, and the idea was entertained 
that this inlet might run right through to the south side of New 
Holland, the treacherous character of the natives seen being 
considered an indication that they might be islanders. The com- 
paratively small size of Melville Island was not however recog- 
nised, for on the chart of the voyage it is shown as continuous 
for a long distance with the land to the south-west. Ihe 
examination of the coast was continued until July, when, owing 
to the increasing sickness among the crews, the return voyage 
was commenced. Before the Vossenbosch reached Macassar the 
skipper and several officers had died. 

The famous voyage of Jacob RoggeveenS the last of the great 
Dutch voyages of circumnavigation, was, like that of Schouten 
and Le Maire, undertaken independently of the Dutch East India 
Company, standing apart from most of the voyages of that realm 
in this respect, as well as in the considerable interval which had 
elapsed since the last previous undertaking of similar magnitude. 
The Dutch had in fact long devoted their energies to their well- 
established commerce with the East and West Indies, and had 
little incUnation, at this time, for voyages of discovery pure and 
simple to other parts of the world. It was the monopoly held by 
the East India Company of the trade by the Cape route which 
led to the adoption once more of the western route across the 

1818 it was brought away by Louis de Freycinet. The posts now (or till 
lately) existing on the island, as described in the Adelaide Register of June 15, 
1907, seem to be of later date. 

. I The correct spelling seems Roggeyeen, as here used, though the 
form Roggewein has become more or less established in English writings about 

H. 14 


Pacific, so often followed by Dutch expeditions a century or so 
earlier. The proposal for the voyage was made to the West India 
Company by Jacob Roggeveen, who had previously been in the 
service of the East India Company in a legal capacity, and whose 
father, some fifty years earlier, had put forward a similar scheme. 
One of the objects, as in so many other Pacific voyages, was the 
search for the great southern continent in the part of the ocean 
where land had been seen by the buccaneer Edward J)avis. The 
proposal was accepted, and on August 21, 1721, Roggeveen 
sailed from the Texel with three ships — the Arend (Eagle), 
Thienhoven, and African Galley. For many years no trustworthy 
account of the voyage was available, and though two narratives 
existed, neither could be entirely relied on, and there were serious 
discrepancies between the two in respect of the positions assigned 
to the islands touched at and other matters^ But after long search 
Roggeveen's original journal was brought to light during the first 
half of the nineteenth century, and was printed at Middelburg in 

After touching at the coast of Brazil and looking in vain for 
Hawkins's Maiden land, Roggeveen passed with two ships through 
the strait of Le Maire, while the Thienhoven, which had been 
separated in a tempest, made the passage of the Strait of Magellan, 
and was rejoined by the others at Juan Fernandez. Hence, with 
the aid of the south-east trade, the ships sailed west-north-west, and 
though the track followed did not greatly diverge from those of 
former navigators, Roggeveen was fortunate in bringing to light 
several islands that had not previously been touched at. The 
first and perhaps most interesting discovery was that of Easter 
Island (made on April 6, 1722), for, as we have seen above, the 
idea that this had been reached in the previous century by the 
buccaneer Edward Davis rests upon insufficient foundation. The 
natives were friendly though timid, but, as on other occasions 
during the voyage, Roggeveen assumed a threatening attitude 
unjustified by the circumstances, and a fatal collision resulted. 

During their stay the voyagers gained a knowledge of the 

1 One of these narratives, in Dutch, is anonymous, the other, written in 
German and afterwards translated into French, was by Carl Friedrich 
Behrens, commander of the troops of the expedition. 

VIIl] THE SOUTH SEAS, 16SO-I750 211 

remarkable stone figures, which are still the most noteworthy 
features of the island, and which were described for the first time 
in the narratives of the voyage. Proceeding on their course, after 
some delay through adverse winds, the voyagers sighted another 
island named by them Carlshof — which seems to have been 
Aratika in the Low Archipelago — and soon afterwards fell in 
with a group of islands and rocks amid which the African Galley 
was wrecked. They were named from this event the Schaadelyk 
or Harmful islands and were probably the Palliser group. Other 
islands met with soon after were named Dageraad (" Daybreak ") 
and Avondstond (" Eventide ")\ the latter being thought to be 
the Vliegen of Schouten (Rairoa in the Low Archipelago), but no 
stay was made until the arrival at an elevated island which has 
been identified with Raiotea in the Society group. It was named 
Verquikking, from the refreshment gained in the form of herb 
for those sick with scurvy. A collision with the natives ensued, 
again owing to the inconsiderate conduct of the Dutch, who lost 
several of their number. The next group visited was named the 
Bouman islands from the Captain of the Thienhoven, and, from the 
descriptions given, it seems probable that these were some of the 
Samoa group. The crews were now suffering severely from sick- 
ness and also becoming discontented at their hardships, so that 
Roggeveen resolved to make for the East Indies with as little delay 
as possible. Several islands were sighted, and after touching at 
the coast of New Britain, and Arimoa off the north coast of New 
Guinea, the ships sailed between the latter and Jilolo, finally 
(after a stay at Japara in Java) reaching Batavia, where they were 
seized on the score of having made the voyage without a Mcence 
from the East India Company. The crews returned in homeward- 
bound ships and an appeal to the States-General resulted in full 
restitution being made by the East India Company. 

1 The names are sometimes given under the German forms Dageroth and 

14 — 2 


THE PACIFIC OCEAN, I 7 64- 1 7 8o 

With the years of profound peace ushered in by the 'JVeaty of 
Paris in 1763 a new period of geographical discovery may be said 
to have begun, marked by a more systematic investigation of those 
parts of the world which still remained unvisited by Europeans. 
In no part was this change for the better more marked than in the 
Pacific Ocean, where, as we have seen, the work so far accomplished, 
at any rate during the century which preceded, had been mainly 
incidental to voyages undertaken by private adventurers for the 
sake of plunder or warlike operations. We now reach a period 
when distant voyages were undertaken by European governments 
or scientific bodies with the direct object of extending the bounds 
of knowledge. In this new movement Great Britain led the way 
by the despatch of Commodore Byron in 1764 to explore the vast 
area which still remained unknown in the Southern Pacific, and in 
which there still seemed a possibility that large land masses suit- 
able for European settlement might exist. It must not be supposed 
that no expedition for purely scientific objects had hitherto been 
sent out from Europe, for even in the seventeenth century 
France, as represented by the Academy of Sciences, had shown 
great enterprise in despatching her foremost savants to distant 
regions for the purpose of making observations to determine the 
figure of the earth and the exact position of places on its surface. 
But the remoteness of the Pacific, and the difficulty of replenishing 
supplies at a distance from any permanent settlement, naturally 
caused it to remain long outside the field of such labours, and 
even when, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, attention 
was turned to it, the actual results of each voyage were for some 
time, small in proportion to the distances covered ; for, even when 

CHAP. IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 213 

new routes were adopted, it was frequently necessary to follow a 
more or less direct course and leave the areas on either side 
unexamined. The discovery of the few small islands which 
happened to lie on such a course was therefore all the positive 
result, though the negative result gained by the elimination of 
new areas from the possible sites of a southern continent was not 
without value. The story of the voyages is therefore marked by a 
certain samenesss, the usual incidents being the discovery of 
verdure-clad islands inhabited either by truculent savages or by 
a simple confiding folk ; too often followed, even in the latter 
case, by misunderstandings leading to bloodshed and disaster to 
one side or the other. 

Commodore John Byron, who a quarter of a century earlier 
had taken part in Anson's voyage, sailed from the Downs on June 
21, 1764, in command of the Dolphin and Tamar; the former a 
sixth-rate man-of-war, the latter a frigate commanded by Captain 
Mouat. After touching at Rio, the expedition put into Port 
Desire towards the end of November, and after making a survey 
of the harbour set out in search of the supposed Pepys Island — 
said by Cowley to lie in 47" S. and so placed in the chart of the 
great astronomer Halley — the correct location of which was named 
in Byron's instructions as one of the objects of the expedition. As 
has been stated in an earlier chapter, it is probable that the 
land seen by Cowley was really the coast of South America, but 
as no such island as he had reported has any existence, the search 
was of course fruitless. Byron next entered the Strait of Magellan, 
where he held friendly intercourse with the Patagonians, many 
of whom seemed to him to approach a height of seven feet. After 
visiting Port Famine and taking in wood and water, he sailed, 
on January 4, 1765, for the Falklands. While examining the 
north coast he discovered a fine harbour, which he named Port 
Egmont after the first Lord of the Admiralty. Although, as we 
shall see shortly, a French expedition under Bougainville had 
settled a French. colony not far from Port Egmont in the early 
part of the preceding year, Byron took possession of the group for 
King George III, under the name Falkland Islands^ He came 

1 Strong had already named the passage between the two main islands 
" FalWand Sound.'' 

214 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

to the conclusion, though hardly on good grounds, that it was the 
Pepys Island of Cowley. Leaving Port Egmont, Byron completely 
circumnavigated the group, making a more accurate chart of its 
coasts (to which he assigned the exaggerated circuit of 700 miles) 
than previously existed. He also ascertained that the islands were 
quite devoid of trees ; what had previously been taken for such, 
when seen from a distance, being merely tall reeds. The fauna 
included sea-lions and foxes, as well as geese which the men 
knocked down with stones. 

On February 17, 1765, the Strait of Magellan was once more 
entered, and soon afterwards a French ship was sighted, which 
proved to be the Aigle under Bougainville. The passage through 
the strait was slow and dangerous, but Byron still considered it 
preferable to the route round Cape Horn, if only for the scurvy- 
grass and other vegetables there procurable, to which he attributed 
the excellent health of his crew at this time. After touching at 
Masafuera, Byron attempted to sail west in about 27" 30' S., in 
search of the land called in the charts Davis's Land, and supposed 
to have been reached by the buccaneer Edward Davis. Failing, 
however, to pick up the trade wind, he was obliged to decrease his 
latitude considerably. On May 15 and 16 indications of land 
to the south were noticed, and on various occasions large birds 
were seen, but the swell from the south made it necessary to haul 
more to the north. A serious outbreak of scurvy rnade it impera- 
tive to find land, but none was sighted until June 7, when, on 
approaching some islands, they were found bordered by steep 
coral rock which rendered landing impossible. The position 
obtained was 14° 5' S., 145° 4' W., and the group was named 
Islands of Disappointment. They lie in the extreme north of 
the Low Archipelago, though considerably east of the position 
assigned to them by Byron. About 200 miles farther west two 
more islands were met with, but still no anchorage could be found, 
though a landing was effected, and some coconuts, scurvy-grass, 
etc., were obtained, which gave some relief to the sick. The 
islands, which were named King George's Islands, were inhabited, 
but only at the second visit could friendly relations be established. 
At the first visit the carved head of the rudder of a Dutch longboat, 
and other relics, were seen. As they proceeded westward, vast 


flocks of birds and other indications of land to the southward were 
seen, and if wind had not failed in higher latitudes Byron felt sure 
that he should have fallen in with it'. As it was, the course led 
past a few more small islands only, some of which (named Danger 
Islands from the rocks and breakers with which they were sur- 
rounded) belonged to the Tokelau or Union Group. Another 
was Nukunau or Byron, in the group since named the Gilbert 
Islands, a more northerly course having now been adopted with 
a view to obtaining refreshments at Tinian. This was sighted on 
July 30, a landing being effected at the spot where Anson had put 
in in the Centurion. Here the voyagers suffered considerably 
from fever and flies, but some supplies were obtained, while the 
Tamar examined the island of Saypan. The voyage was resumed 
on October 10, and early in November the ships reached the 
island of Tioman off the east coast of the Malay Peninsula, \ 
having passed between Formosa and the Bashi Islands. Batavia \ 
was reached on November 27 and left again on December 10, the 
voyage being brotight to a close at Deal on May 9, 1766, having 
occupied 22 months in all. 

Only three months after Byron's return the Dolphin was again 
despatched, this time under the command of Captain Samuel 
Wallis, to prosecute further discoveries. She was accompanied by I 
the Swallow, a sloop commanded by Captain Philip Carteret, and | 
by the Prince Frederick store-ship, whose part in the expedition 
was to cease at the Strait of Magellan. The passage of the 
strait was again a tedious affair, and occupied four months. On 
meeting the Patagonians, Wallis for the first time caused exact 
measurements of the people to be taken, with the result that 
the tallest individual was found to have a height of 5 ft 7 in. 
only. When at Port Gallant, about mid-way, a high mountain 
was climbed by the master of the Swallow, who left a record in a 
bottle which, in the opinion of the writer of the narrative, might 
"possibly remain there as long as the world endures." At the 
exit from the strait, the Dolphin and Swallow parted company, 
owing to the bad sailing qualities of the latter, never again to 
come together, so that, as it turned out, each completed an 

' No land larger than the island of Tahiti would, however, have been met 




independent circumnavigation of the globe, making separate 
discoveries en route. The Dolphin was again forced by unfavour- 
able weather to go north, and thus lost the chance of searching 
for land in a high latitude. In spite of all precautions — scrupulous 
attention to cleanliness, and the use of supposed curatives 
such as wort made of malt, pickled cabbage, vinegar, etc. — scurvy 
attacked the crew, and an anxious look-out was kept for land. The 
first seen was in the south of the Low Archipelago, and was named 
Whitsun by Wallis. Other small islands were named Queen 
Charlotte, Egmont, Gloucester, Cumberland, and Prince William 

^^^lnn«p H 1 

^ ^ 

V..: ■ 

• / >* -^r^. .^Hfr 






...i;-,- M.~ 





;, ii^ 

■M^lsa2^,._ .. .,_. :_'^ 


Surrender of the Island of Tahiti (Otaheite) to Wallis by the 
supposed Queen. (From Hawkesworth.) 

Henry. At the first of these some coconuts, scurvy-grass, and 
water were procured. The Commander, however, had by this 
time fallen seriously ill, and remained so for a considerable time, 
though continuing to give orders to his officers. Some of these 
were also incapacitated, and much of the work devolved on the 
second lieutenant, Furneaux by name. After passing a small 
island named Osnaburgh in honour of Prince Frederick, who was 
bishop of the see of that name, Wallis lighted upon an island, of 
considerable size and rising into high mountains, which proved 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-178O 217 

to be Otaheite (Tahiti), the most important in Eastern Polynesia. 
The credit of the first discovery of Tahiti seems undoubtedly to 
belong to Wallis, the idea that this island was the La Sagittaria 
of Quiros having been shown by the late Admiral Wharton to be 
without foundation. A long stay was made here, intimate relations 
being at last established with the inhabitants, in spite of some 
prehminary difficulties leading on two occasions to hostilities. 
Another danger arose from the ship striking a reef of sharp rock, 
from which, however, she was got off with little damage. Supplies 
were obtained in exchange for various objects, especially nails, 
which were greatly prized by the natives, though the market was 
spoilt for a time by the behaviour of the sailors, who drew the 
nails out of various parts of the ship to carry on traffic on their 
own account. During the stay Wallis sent a party into the interior 
of the island, which made its way to a considerable height among 
the mountains and brought back an enticing account of the fertility 
and verdure everywhere to be seen. Eventually the friendship of 
an important chieftainess was secured, who conceived such a 
partiahty to the Commander as to evince the utmost distress 
when the time came for the ship to sail. This took place on 
July 27, 1767, the harbour in which the Dolphin had stayed being 
named Port Royal Harbour. The health of the crew benefited 
greatly during the stay, there being now no invalid on board 
except Captain Wallis and the two lieutenants, and even these 
were recovering. The island struck the voyagers as one of the 
most healthy and delightful spots in the world, and no sign of 
disease was seen among the inhabitants — a state of things too soon 
to give place to one less satisfactory. The name King George III 
Island, given by WalUs to Tahiti, never came into general 

Passing in sight of Eimeo, Moorea, or Duke of York's Island, 
the Dolphin held a nearly west course till about 175° W., when, like 
Byron, Wallis steered for Tinian. Only a few small islands were 
sighted en route, among them Uea or Wallis to the north of the 
Tonga group, and Rongelap in the northern part of the Marshall 
Islands of modern maps. At Tinian refreshments were obtained 
in the form of beef (procured by hunting the almost wild cattle), 
pork, and fruits of various kinds, including limes, by means of 

2l8 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

which the sick were greatly benefited. Observations for latitude 
and longitude were taken, those for longitude giving a result within 
two or three miles of the true position. The rest of the voyage, 
made by the usual route, calls for no detailed description. At 
Batavia, where a vain attempt was made to procure anchors and 
cables, many of the men fell sick, and it was not till they had 
been landed at the Cape (reached on February 4, 1768) that their 
health was re-established. Frequent astronomical observations 
were again made here, the longitude obtained being 18° 8' E., or 
about 4' less than it is in reality. Finally, on May 20, the Dolphin 
arrived in the Downs, 637 days, or the best part of two years, 
from the date on which she sailed out of Plymouth Sound. 

The route followed by Carteret in the Sivallow lay on the 
whole to the south of that of Wallis, but not far enough in this 
direction to throw much additional light on the important groups, 
hitherto but slightly known from the voyages of Quires and Tasman, 
lying in the Western Pacific to the south of 10° S. Important dis- 
coveries were made, but not until the confines of the Australasian 
region in the neighbourhood of New Guinea were reached. After 
taking in water during stormy weather at Masafuera, Carteret 
sailed west in about 28° S. — a course which Wallis had found 
impossible — searching in vain for the islands of St Ambrose and 
St Felix laid down to the west or north-west of Juan Fernandez in 
some of the charts and works of navigation of the time. He also 
sailed across the supposed position of Davis Land without finding 
it, and only when 130° W. had been reached was land discovered 
in the form of the small isolated Pitcairn Island (so named from 
the youth who first sighted it) to the south of the Low Archipelago. 
Gales and dark cold weather had been experienced, and, as in 
Wallis's case, it was found impossible to keep in a high southern 
latitude. The ship, however, took a course to the south of Tahiti, 
and only one or two of the small isles in this direction were 
sighted. One of these received the name Osnaburgh, already 
given by Wallis to a more northerly one. The ravages of scurvy 
made it necessary, for the sake of procuring refreshments, to still 
further diminish the latitude, hopes of discovering continental land 
to the south being for the present abandoned. Carteret was sur- 
prised at finding no trace of the Solomon Islands, which, misled 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 219 

by the erroneous maps then current, he expected to find east of 
177° W. Early in August the current was for the first time 
observed to set to the south, and he deduced therefrom the 
existence of a passage between New Zealand and New Holland. 
On August 12, 1767, the Santa Cruz group (named by Carteret 
Queen Charlotte's Islands) was reached. Although discovered by 
Mendaiia a century before, and the scene of that navigator's death, 
the position of the group had been very imperfectly known, and 
Carteret may be credited with its re-discovery. The largest 
island — Santa Cruz — he named Lord Egmont's Island, or New 
Guernsey. Hostilities occurred here, and the master and others 
were wounded. The voyage was continued to the north of the 
main islands of the Solomon group, but, a current having set the 
ship to the southward, Gower was sighted on the 20th, and Malaita 
(named Carteret) on the 21st. The former was afterwards visited, 
and coconuts were obtained from a body of natives with whom 
some hostilities took place. The next land seen was the " Nine 
Islands " (since known as the Carteret group), which Carteret 
wrongly identified with the Ontong Java of Tasman. After 
- passing between the Green Islands and Buka, which were named 
respectively Sir Charles Hardy and Winchelsea, the south point of 
New Ireland was sighted. 

Carteret's most important discovery now awaited him. The 
strait between New Ireland and New Britain, it will be re- 
membered, had been taken by Dampier for a deep bay only 
(St George's Bay). But when, after refreshing in a sheltered 
cove just within the supposed bay (described as much the best 
that had been met with since leaving the Strait of Magellan), 
Carteret attempted to continue his voyage by the route followed 
by Dampier, he found himself carried to the north-west into a 
deep gulf, which proved to be a strait between two separate 
islands. The channel, which was divided in two by an island 
(Duke of York's Island), received the name St George's Channel, 
and the land to the east that of New Ireland — the old name, New 
Britain, being kept for the more westerly land. At the northern 
extremity of the latter land were sighted the remarkable peaks, 
still known by the names given them by Carteret, the Mother and 
Daughters. A strong westerly current carried the ship along the 


inner coast of New Ireland, and between this and the populous 
Sandwich Island, with whose black woolly-headed inhabitants 
some intercourse was held. The name New Hanover was 
bestowed on the high tree-covered island which continues the 
trend of New Ireland to the north-west, and that of Byron Strait 
on the intervening channel. The passage thus effected, involun- 
tarily in the first instance, proved to be much better and shorter 
than that outside the islands. The Captain, however, was much 
dispirited by sickness — so much so as to be almost ready to sink 
under the arduous duties devolving upon him. 

The further voyage led past the south side of the Admiralty 
Islands — the name bestowed by Carteret, though the group had 
been discovered in 1616 by Schouten and Le Maire — where 
hostilities with the unfriendly natives occurred. The small 
islands of Durour and Matty, the latter named after a friend 
of Carteret, were afterwards discovered. Friendly intercourse 
was held with the inhabitants of Pegan or Free Will — the latter 
name being given from the readiness with which one of the 
natives accompanied the voyagers — and Carteret then sailed on a 
N.W. by N. course, which took him north of the equator. After 
one or two other small islands had been passed, the island of 
Mindanao was reached on October 26. The southern coast of 
this island was examined, but no refreshments being procurable 
a course was laid for Celebes, where, after some difficulty, supplies 
were obtained at Bonthein in the southern extremity of the island. 
Batavia was reached on June 3, 1768, and the Cape on November 
28. The Swallow finally anchored at Spithead on March 20, 
1769, having, soon after leaving Ascension, met with the French 
navigator Bougainville, then also returning from his voyage of 

It was but a few months after the last two of these British expe- 
ditions set out, and while both were still absent, that Louis Antoine 
de Bougainville, the first of the great French circumnavigators, 
though not the first seaman of his nation to complete a voyage 
round the world, embarked on an undertaking very similar to 
theirs, and one which took him over a route in the main corre- 
sponding with those of the English voyagers. Destined for the 
law by his parents and educated at the University of Paris, 

222 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-I780 [CHAP. 

Bougainville felt himself drawn instead to the military profes- 
sion, albeit fond of scientific studies and author of a treatise 
on the integral calculus. He took part in the campaign in 
Canada which ended so disastrously for the French power in 
North America, and after the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris 
entered on a naval career, though he still retained his military 
rank. At his suggestion, the project for the colonisation of the 
Malouines or Falkland Islands was undertaken in 1763, and on 
September 15 of that year he sailed for those parts with the Aigle 
and Sphinx, repeating the voyage, with supplies for the colonists, 
in 1765. But the rival claims of the English and Spaniards 
soon caused the enterprise to be abandoned, and on December 5, 
1766, he sailed south, for the third time, in the frigate La 
Boudeuse, charged with the commission of ceding the settlement 
to Spain, and continuing his way across the Pacific. The second 
in command of this famous expedition, to which in 1767 was 
attached the store-ship Atoile, was Duclos Guyot. On the outward 
voyage Bougainville examined the Salvages, dangerous rocks be- 
tween Madeira and the Canaries, and visited Rio de Janeiro and 
the estuary of the La Plata, whence, on November 14, 1767, 
he finally sailed from Montevideo for the Strait of Magellan. 
After the usual experiences in the strait, he entered the South 
Sea at the end of January, 1768. Two months later he sighted 
various islands of the Tuamotu group, which he named Dangerous 
Archipelago. Early in April the ships anchored off the coast 
of Tahiti, discovered by Wallis eight months before, one of 
its high peaks receiving the name Le Boudoir or Peak of La 
Boudeuse. The luxuriant aspect of nature in this island struck 
the navigators with delight, while the mild and peaceful disposi- 
tion of the inhabitants, contrasting strongly with those of some of 
the other Pacific groups, accorded well with their surroundings. 
The reception given to the French was a most cordial one, and 
though the intercourse was for a time marred by the murder of 
several of the islanders by the sailors, friendly relations were 
again estabUshed. Bougainville waited, however, only until the 
necessary supplies of wood and water had been obtained and 
the health of the sick somewhat re-established to continue the 
voyage. To the group of which Tahiti formed one unit he gave 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 223 

the name Bomba Archipelago, though this soon gave place to 
Cook's designation, the Society Islands. 

Continuing the voyage early in May, 1768, Bougainville next 
discovered several islands of the Samoa group, to which he gave 
the name Navigators' Islands, which, concurrently with the native 
name, it still bears. The absence of roadsteads prevented him 
from landing, though some intercourse 'was maintained with the 
people, who showed little of the good faith and confiding dis- 
position, and little too of the artistic skill, of the Tahitians. 
Still less pleasing were the inhabitants of the next islands visited 
—certain of the New Hebrides, called by Bougainville the Grand 
Cyclades — a collision with whom took place during an attempt 
to obtain refreshments. The inhabitants were of the thick- 
lipped black type common to the islands of this part of the 
Pacific, from which it has gained the name " Melanesia." An 
outbreak of scurvy had now assumed serious proportions, and 
as the food supplies were runnirig short much distress was 

In spite of his wish to verify his belief that he had reached 
the "Austrialia del Espirito Santo" of Quiros, the commander 
found himself compelled to continue his westerly course in order 
to reach the Moluccas as soon as possible. But in so doing he 
continued to make discoveries, soon becoming entangled among 
the islands and channels lying off the eastern extremity of New 
Guinea, among which he had to submit to an enforced deten- 
tion. To the gulf in which he found himself he gave the name 
Louisiade, which has since been applied to the whole archipelago. 
On at last finding a passage round the cape named by him Cape 
Deliverance, he sighted further islands not previously visited, and 
passed through the strait since known by his name, touching at 
Choiseul in the Solomon group. Hostilities with the cannibal 
natives ensued, and the river, which was the scene of attack, was 
called Riviere des Guerriers, the island receiving the name which 
it has since retained. Bougainville and Buka Islands, in the 
same group, were next sighted, the latter name being a word 
constantly repeated by the natives during their intercourse with 
the French. The winds and currents then made it necessary to 
continue the voyage to New Britain. Coming to anchor in a 

224 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

supposed bay near the east end of that island, the navigator 
found traces of the recent visit of Carteret, who, as already 
related, had proved that a wide strait separated New Britain from 
New Ireland. The stopping place was named by Bougainville 
Port Praslin. No supphes being obtainable, famine stared the 
navigators in the face as they continued their voyage to the 
north-west, and matters grew worse as time went on. The 
islands named by Bougainville tie des Anachoretes and Echi- 
quier were sighted, as also the coast of New Guinea, the end 
of which island was rounded. Finally, after approaching Ceram 
to no purpose, refreshment was at last found at Kajeli in Burn, 
whence the ships made their way to Batavia. Here, as far as 
geographical discovery was concerned, the voyage was over, the 
return being made by Mauritius and the Cape to Ascension, 
the Boudeuse finally casting anchor at St Malo on March 16, 
1769, after an absence of two and a half years. The Etoile 
returned later, having been left behind at Mauritius to refit. 

This voyage of circumnavigation was one of the first in which 
the interests of science were provided for by the inclusion, among 
the staff, of scientific experts, namely the botanist Commer9on and 
the astronomer Verra, both of whom stayed at Mauritius on the 
homeward voyage to complete their work. The example thus 
set was followed throughout a long series of important voyages, 
French and English, the results of which were proportionately 
enhanced in value. 

This is perhaps the most suitable place in which to refer to 
one or two voyages made about this time to the eastern parts of 
the Malayo-Papuan Archipelago, though being more or less isolated 
undertakings they do not quite fall into line with the other 
voyages dealt with in this chapter. As just stated, the botanist 
Commer5on, of Bougainville's expedition, had remained behind 
at Mauritius for further research in that region, and in the 
execution of this task he had the aid of a French official of the 
marine department, Pierre Sonnerat, who was presently to make 
himself a name for natural history researches of his own. An 
expedition was soon afterwards fitted out at Mauritius under the 
Chevalier de Coetivi, having among its objects an examination of 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 22? 

the products of the Eastern Archipelago, especially the Philippines 
and the islands to the south-east of them. A start was made on 
June 29, 1 771, Sonnerat sailing with Coetivi in the Isle de France, 
which was accompanied by the corvette Nkessaire. The voyage 
resulted in valuable additions to the knowledge of the zoology 
and botany of the region visited, which included some of the 
western outliers of the Papuan islands, though the mainland of 
New Guinea itself was not visited. In 1766 Sonnerat pubhshed 
a narrative of the voyage under the somewhat misleading title 
Voyage a la Nouvelle Guinee. The small island of Coetivi, in 
the Indian Ocean south of the Seychelles group, was discovered 
and named during the outward voyage. 

Shortly after this an English voyage to the same part of the 
Eastern seas was carried out by Captain Thomas Forrest, on 
behalf of the East India Company. The Company had at this 
time an establishment at Balambangan, a small island off the 
northern end of Borneo, and as the authorities here received 
reports of the occurrence of nutmegs and other spices in Western 
New Guinea, outside the Dutch jurisdiction, Forrest offered to 
undertake a voyage thither to ascertain whether a profitable trade 
in these commodities could be opened. Sailing in November, 
1774, in the Tartar galley, a prau or native craft of ten tons 
burden, he visited the Moluccas, and eventually, in 1775, reached 
Dorey harbour, on the north coast of Western New Guinea^. He 
spent some time in an examination of the neighbourhood, and 
after much search the nutmeg tree was found growing wild. 
But the hopes of establishing a trade were not realised, and 
Forrest returned to the English factory in Borneo, which he 
reached, after some stay in Mindanao and other islands en route, 
in February, 1776^. Forrest published an interesting account of 
the voyage in 1780. 

The interest in Pacific discovery was now thoroughly aroused, 
and expeditions followed each other so fast that two if not three 
were sometimes in the field in one and the same year. Even 

1 This locality became noteworthy in more recent times from the visit paid 
to it by the naturalist-traveller Alfred Russel Wallace. 
^ Balambangan had by this time been evacuated. 

H. 15 

226 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

before the return of Wallis, and while both Carteret and Bou- 
gainville were still at the opposite side of the globe, preparations 
were already on foot for a new British voyage, which was to usher 
in a period of more rapid progress than had been seen since — 
more than a century earlier — Tasman's voyage brought to a close 
the great discoveries of the sixteenth and early seventeenth 
centuries. The immediate inducement to the voyage was not 
purely geographical, being supplied by the calculation of astro- 
nomers that a passage of the planet Venus across the sun's 
disc would take place in 1769, and that the transit could best 
be observed in some part or other of the Pacific Ocean. The 
Royal Society was foremost in urging on the Government the 
desirability of despatching an expedition to that region, to be 
accompanied by a competent astronomical observer, and its 
representations proved successful. But geographical research 
was not left out of sight by the promoters. Among the Fellows 
of the Royal Society at the time was Alexander Dalrymple, an 
enthusiastic believer in the existence of a great Southern Con- 
tinent, who by his writings did much to bring the question before 
the public, and who, being well versed also in astronomy, was 
at first selected to take charge of the observations, though his 
refusal to serve in a position subordinate to a naval officer made 
it necessary to arrange otherwise. The choice of commander fell 
on Lieutenant James Cook, and proved in every respect a most 
fortunate one. In his three voyages of discovery, occupying the 
greater part of ten years. Cook showed himself the most success- 
ful navigator produced by this or probably any other country, 
the extent of unknown seas traversed rendering those years 
one of the decisive turning points in the progress of geographical 

The son 01 a Yorkshire farm-labourer. Cook's passion for the 
sea was first gratified at the age of eighteen. After passing some 
years in the merchant service with credit, he entered the royal 
navy on the outbreak of war in 1755, ^^^ did important service 
in Canadian waters under Captain (afterwards Sir Hugh) Palliser, 
afterwards carrying out valuable surveys in the same quarter of 
the globe. He had but lately returned when the preparations for 
the proposed expedition were set on foot, and he was appointed 




to command the Endeavour, a stout Whitby ship built for the 
coal trade, but chosen for the voyage by Sir Hugh Palliser. An 
astronomical observer was found in the person of Mr Charles 
Green, assistant to the Astronomer Royal, while permission was 

Captain James Cook. 

given to Mr (afterwards Sir Joseph) Banks, who had lately been 
elected an F.R.S., to accompany the expedition, with his friend 
Dr Solander and several assistants, for the purpose of making 

1 5-2 

228 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

researches in natural history. The association of such a com- 
petent scientific observer with the commander was of the utmost 
advantage, and to Banks's enthusiasm and loyal co-operation a 
large part of the success of the expedition was due. A further 
point of superiority in this over previous similar undertakings, 
consisted in the measures taken to combat the dreaded scurvy — 
which so often played havoc with the crews of ships engaged 
in lengthened voyages — by the supply of lime-juice and other 

The Endeavour sailed from Deptford on July 30, 1768, and 
in the following January successfully doubled Cape Horn without 
experiencing any of the storms for which that region is famous^. 
While in its neighbourhood a serious misadventure befel a party 
which had gone inland to examine the country and was forced 
to camp out during a night of such piercing cold that two Negro 
servants of Mr Banks succumbed. The charts of this region 
proved very incorrect, and the surveys effected were thus of much 
value. The voyage to Tahiti, which from the experience gained 
during Wallis's voyage had been chosen as the locality in which 
to observe the Transit, passed without important incidents, only 
a few small islands being sighted en route. On April 13 the 
Endeavour entered Port Royal Harbour, and intercourse with 
the natives was quickly established. During the three months' 
stay, thanks to the strict discipline maintained by Cook, the 
relations with the people were on the whole thoroughly friendly, 
although their pilfering habits once or twice threatened difficulties. 
The Transit was successfully observed at two or three different 
localities, and excursions inland and along the coast to the 
eastward of the main station added to the explorers' knowledge 
of the island. On leaving, a native named Tupia was taken on 
board at his own desire, and proved of much service during the 
further course of the voyage. From the point of view of 
geography, the chief interest was now only beginning, for a 
serious attempt was to be made to solve the problems presented 

' A chart showing Cook's routes on his three expeditions is given opposite 
p. 254. It has been based, by permission, on the chart (on a larger scale) 
given by Mr Kitson in his recent work, Captain James Cook, the " Circuni- 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-I780 229 

by the unknown area in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean, 
which had baffled the efforts of so many previous voyagers. 
With the exception of Tasman in his famous voyage of 1642, 
none of the navigators who had traversed the Southern Pacific 
during the previous centuries had passed to the south of 30° 
between 100° west of Greenwich and the coasts of New Holland, 
so that a vast virgin field lay open to the voyagers in the Endeavour 
when they set out in 1768. Even on the route from Cape Horn 
to Tahiti Cook had followed a more southerly course than his 
predecessors, and so had pushed outward the possible limits of 
land in this direction. But the results after leaving Tahiti were 
to be still more important. Cook first visited several of the other 
islands lying to the west of Tahiti, giving to the whole group the 
name of Society Islands, after the scientific body which had 
inspired the voyage. He then boldly steered for the unknown 
south, discovering on the way the small island of Rurutu, in the 
Austral group (spoken of by Tupia as Oheteroa), but seeing no 
other land until, on September i, the furthest south was reached 
in a little south of 40°. Birds, however, were seen, sometimes in 
great numbers. 

A more or less westerly course was now sailed, and on 
October 8, 1769, the coast of New Zealand — hitherto visited 
only by Tasman, in 1642 — was struck between latitudes 38° and 
39° S. It formed white chalk-like cliffs on either side of an open 
bay, with low land between, backed by ranges of mountains. This 
locality, which was named Poverty Bay, lay in about 38° 40' S. 
on the east side of the North Island — the side opposite to that 
visited by Tasman. After sailing southwards past Hawke's Bay 
to a point named Cape Turnagain, the ship's head was put in the 
opposite direction, and the coast followed north of Poverty Bay, 
communication being frequently opened with the natives, who 
were in general friendly, though one or two hostile collisions 
occurred. As usual, they showed thieving propensities, and 
proofs were more than once seen of their cannibalism. Mr 
Banks and Dr Solander constantly added to their botanical 
collections, and a transit of Mercury was successfully observed 
by Mr Green. After reaching the most northern point, the 
Endeavour turned south and followed down the west side of 

230 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, I764-1780 [CHAP. 

the North Island, afterwards passing through Cook Strait and 
so definitely proving the division of the main body of New 
Zealand into two distinct islands. Valuable observations of the 
country and people were made. The latter on the west coast were 
frequently found dwelling in forts placed in strong situations and 
called Hippahs. Cape Turnagain having been once more sighted, 
the ship's head was put south and the circuit of the South Island 
made in the reverse direction from that in which the North had 
been circumnavigated. Few incidents of importance occurred, 
no native being seen during the whole passage. The track led 
round the south end of Stewart Island (the insular character of 
which was not discovered), and during the voyage up the west 
coast the great snowy range of the New Zealand Alps was kept 
constantly in sight. Reaching Cape Farewell and once more 
entering the mouth of Cook Strait, the navigators disproved once 
for all the idea that New Zealand formed part of a great conti- 
nental mass. Such might nevertheless exist more to the south, 
and, had the condition of the ship permitted, an attempt would 
have been made to solve this question by taking the Cape Horn 
route and keeping in high southern latitudes. This was felt to 
be impossible. Still, as provisions for six months yet remained, 
it was determined to attempt further geographical work by 
steering westward for the east coast of New Holland, then quite 
unknown, and following it northward as far as possible. Apart 
from the question of the Southern Continent, this was un- 
doubtedly the most important piece of geographical work re- 
maining to be done, and its successful accomplishment, after 
so long a time had been already spent on the voyage, bears 
witness to the keenness for discovery animating the navigators. 
In the end they were put to some straits before reaching a , 
port at which they could renew their supplies, the length of 
time during which fresh provisions had been scarce causing some 
of the crew, as well as the Tahitian Tupia, to be attacked by 

The Endeavour sailed from Cape Farewell on March 31, 
1770, and on April ig, after premonitory signs had been noticed 
during several days, land was sighted by the first lieutenant, 
Mr Hicks, a prominent point receiving his name in consequence. 




This was a little south of 37° on the coast of New South Wales. 
By thus making the first authentic discovery on this side of the 
great island Cook achieved a success which was destined in time 

Sir Joseph Banks. 

to decide the fortunes of the whole of Australia. Landings were 
soon made and natives encountered, but it was with difficulty that 
they were induced to put aside their suspicions. At one place 

232 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

the botanical labours of Banks and Solander met with such a rich 
reward that the bay there formed between two green headlands 
received the name of Botany Bay, which it has ever since borne. 
Soon afterwards, on May 6, Port Jackson, the site of the future 
city of Sydney, was discovered and named. The voyagers were 
now approaching a region exceedingly dangerous by reason of 
the shoals and coral reefs, which there attain an extent unsur- 
passed in any part of the globe. The utmost vigilance was 
therefore necessary. Passing Cleveland Bay, Rockingham Bay, 
Trinity Bay, and other coast features which still bear the names 
then assigned them, the voyagers used every opportunity of 
observing the nature of the country inland. On the loth a 
disaster befel them which, but for the utmost good fortune, 
might well have proved fatal to the whole crew. After success- 
fully passing some dangerous shoals and reaching, as it seemed, 
deeper water, the Endeavour, with hardly any warning, struck on 
an invisible rock and remained immoveable at a distance of eight 
leagues from land, which, even were it possible to reach it, could 
not afford more than temporary sustenance to so large a body of 
men^ All depended on the chance of saving the ship, and the 
amount of damage caused by the sharp coral rock rendered such 
chance extremely slight. The men worked incessantly at the 
pumps, and by throwing overboard everything that could possibly 
be spared, the ship was at length so far lightened as to float at 
the second high tide after striking. That she did not now sink 
was due only to the happy chance that the largest hole had been 
plugged by a portion of the rock remaining fixed within it. By 
passing an old sail covered with wool and oakum under the 
damaged portion of the hull, the leak was further checked, and 
it became possible to navigate the vessel to a sheltered harbour 
which was found not far off, within the mouth of the Endeavour 
River (still so named). Here the ship was brought to the shore, 
and by hard work the damage to her bottom was at last re- 
paired. During the stay the country inland was examined, and 
the kangaroo, the largest Australian mammal, was here for the 
first time seen and secured. 

' The point of land abreast of the reef on which the ship struck received 
the name Cape Tribulation, in reference to the misfortune experienced. 




vemrj"^ 2. 5 





\£. IVibulaJcLort 


'':■ ^ ^^iThj[2JTtb€rland,Sf 

ixi C- Capricorn 

randy ^<apG 



or t7ie£ajft Coast of 


oSidcci'e'red and ^cc/iAn-ed 

the GlcasTToiiscs \ . 



,C.^foi 'tan. 


\S7n0aM lyC. 




Bro kenB. 


TAfeat Xouqitgde fnuii 2J5 


> the'Mmdian of ^*^'^\ 

(t.Sf^ George 



Cook's chart of the East coast of Australia. {Outline sketch.) 

234 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-I780 [CHAP. 

The voyage was resumed on August 4, and the intricate and 
difficult navigation through the reefs which fringe the coast was 
successfully accomplished, though the ship was again more than 
once in a position of great danger. Cape York, the northern 
extremity of the north-east peninsula, was reached on the 21st, 
and by sailing between this and the islands to the north, Cook 
demonstrated once more the separation of New Guinea from 
New Holland — a fact which had been proved by the voyage of 
Torres more than a century and a half before, but was not a 
matter of general knowledge at the time. The name Endeavour 
Strait was given to the channel nearest the mainland, through 
which the ship sailed. Having passed through this. Cook steered 
north for the almost unknown south coast of New Guinea; but 
the shallowness of the sea off the latter, and the uncertain 
character of the inhabitants, made it impossible to do much 
towards its examination. On landing, Mr Banks found the 
vegetation, though luxuriant in growth, by no means rich in 
species. The natives that were seen assumed a threatening 
attitude : as had been observed by Tasman long before, they 
made use of fire to throw at their enemies for the purpose of 
blinding them, though without much effect. Continuing the 
voyage, the navigators passed Timor and Rotti, and reached the 
small island of Savu, where was a Dutch resident and where 
with some difficulty they obtained fresh provisions for the sick. 
Thence the Endeavour sailed for Batavia, where extensive repairs 
were found necessary, and during the delay thus occasioned many 
of the officers and crew fell ill with fevers and other ailments, 
to which both Tupia and his boy Tayeto succumbed. On 
December 27, 1770, the Endeavour sailed from Batavia, and 
after a ten days' stay at Prince's Island, steered for the Cape. 
There was now more sickness than at any other time throughout 
the voyage, and deaths occurred frequently, Mr Green the 
astronomer and Mr Parkinson, who had accompanied Mr Banks 
as draughtsman, being among the victims. After a month's stay 
at the Cape, in March and April, the voyage was continued, and 
after touching at St Helena en route the Endeavour cast anchor 
in the Downs on May 12, 1771, having been absent a little 
over two years and nine months. 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 235 

Fruitful as this voyage had been — for, besides proving that no 
continental land occupied any part of the south-western Pacific 
north of 40° S., Cook had for the first time circumnavigated New 
Zealand, and explored almost the whole of the eastern coast of 
Australia — it was only the beginning of a long series of equally 
important .discoveries. Recognising the unusual qualifications of 
the commander, which consisted not only in his zeal for discovery 
but also in the excellent discipline he maintained and the constant 
care he evinced for the welfare of his crew, the Government at 
once decided to send him out again, this time with the sole object 
of geographical discovery. Although on the former voyage he 
had proved that no continental land existed in the Southern 
Pacific between Tahiti and New Zealand, there still remained 
a vast area encircling the South Pole and reaching in many parts 
as far north as 40°, which was still absolutely unknown, and 
which might contain a continent rivalling in extent those of the 
known world. To throw hght on this great unknown area was 
the primary object of the new voyage, and we shall see that it 
met with a degree of success which cast into the shade all previous 
efforts in this direction. Two practically new ships, built like the 
Endeavour at Whitby, with a tonnage of 462 and 336 tons re- 
spectively, were purchased ; the larger, the Resolution, being 
placed under Cook's own command, while the command of the 
smaller, the Adventure, was given to Tobias Furneaux, who had 
done good service under Wallis as second lieutenant. Banks, 
who had so large a share in the success of the former voyage, 
seems to have entertained the idea of once more accompanying 
the commander, but it was not carried out. Instead, a naturalist 
of German extraction, Johann Reinhold Forster, was chosen to 
go in that capacity, and was accompanied by his son. Immense 
pains were taken in the fitting out of the expedition, which was 
probably better equipped than any previous one had been. The 
ships were ready by the middle of 1772, and left Plymouth on 
July 13. In the instructions given to him, dated June 25, Cook 
was directed to proceed to the Cape, and after refreshing there to 
apply himself first to the search for land in the almost untraversed 
ocean to the south. It will be remembered that early in the 
century the French navigator, Lozier . Bouvet, had sighted land 

236 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

in this region and given to it the name Cape Circumcision. The 
search for this land had just now been taken up in France, and 
it is necessary to speak of one or two French voyages before 
following Cook in his new undertaking. 

Ives Joseph de Kerguelen-Tre'marec, an enterprising navigator, 
though a man of somewhat imperious temper, had prevailed on 
the Government to despatch him on the quest above referred to. 
He had sailed in 1771, and returned to France in the very month 
in which Cook sailed on his second voyage. From Mauritius he 
had sailed south in January, 1772, and in February had dis- 
covered the island which has ever since borne the name 
Kerguelen Land — the largest of the scattered islands in the 
Southern Indian Ocean. Though in reality one of the most 
dreary and inhospitable spots on the surface of the globe, Ker- 
guelen had formed the most extravagant ideas of its value, and, 
as he had seen but a part of the island, he imagined it to be 
merely an advanced outpost of the long-sought southern con- 
tinent. Being sent out again in 1773 to make further examina- 
tion of this supposed south land, he realised the mistake he had 
made, and gave to the land he had discovered the appropriate 
title. Land of Desolation. 

Meanwhile another enterprising French navigator, Marion-Du- 
fresne, with Crozet as second in command, had undertaken a 
somewhat similar voyage. On his return to France Bougainville 
had brought with him a young native of Tahiti, whom it was 
necessary to take back to his home, and Marion, eager to dis- 
tinguish himself by geographical discovery, volunteered for the 
task, offering to provide one ship and to bear the expenses of 
another. The young Tahitian had been sent to Mauritius, and 
Marion sailed thence in October, 1771. His charge was, how- 
ever, attacked by smallpox at the isle of Reunion and died, so 
that it became possible at once to undertake the search for new 
lands. His own vessel was named the Mascareigne, while the 
second ship, the Marquis de Castries, was commanded by the 
Chevalier Duclesmeur. After visiting the Cape, Marion sailed 
south at the close of 1771, or before Kerguejen had effected his 
discovery, the early part of his voyage having been devoted to 
the more northern parts of the Indian Ocean. On January 13, 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, I764-1780 237 

1772, Marion discovered a snow-clad mountainous land in 
46° 45' S., and, like so many others in like case, flattered himself 
that it was part of the supposed southern continent. It consisted, 
however, merely of two small islands, with other islets near them, 
being identical with the group afterwards named Prince Edward 
Islands by Cook. The larger and more southern was named by 
Marion Terre d'Espdrance, while the more northern received the 
name tie de la Caverne. The former is now known, from its dis- 
coverer, as Marion Island. This land was not identical with that 
seen by Bouvet, as its latitude was less, while it lay a long way 
to the east of the longitude assigned by that navigator, though 
even this eventually proved to have been too easterly. Fearing 
to become entangled in the ice if he went further south, Marion 
steered east, and sighted the group now known as the Crozet 
Islands on January 22-23. He ordered Crozet to land on the 
largest and take possession in the name of the King of France, a 
circumstance from which it still bears the name Possession Island. 
It supported neither tree nor shrub, but rose into high snow-clad 
peaks. The search for the continent was now abandoned, and 
the ships steered for Van Diemen's Land, which had not been 
touched at since discovered by Tasman in 1642. Here diffi- 
culties arose with the natives, and the ships sailed for New 
Zealand. Friendly intercourse with the natives was there main- 
tained for some time, but it ended in a catastrophe, the 
commander and some sixteen others being murdered during a 
visit to a chief on the shores of Cook's Bay of Islands. Crozet 
and Duclesmeur therefore sailed away for the islands of St Paul 
and Amsterdam, the remainder of the voyage yielding no result 
in the way of discoveries. 

We must now return to Cook and his comrades, who, after 
touching at Madeira and the Cape Verdes, sighted land in the 
vicinity of Table Bay on September 29. The Dutch authorities 
obligingly gave the necessary facilities for making up their 
supplies, and on November 22 the southward voyage was com- 
menced, warm clothing being distributed in view of the meditated 
approach to the cold and stormy regions in this direction. 

Difficulties soon began, a violent gale driving the ships to the 


eastward, while, after the winds moderated, they were frequently 
in danger from fog and ice, the first iceberg being seen on 
December 10. Arrived at the latitude in which Cape Circum- 
cision had been placed by Bouvet, a keen look-out was kept for 
land, for although they were some degrees to the east of the 
assigned longitude, the idea that the cape formed but the most 
prominent point of a larger mass encouraged the expectation 
that such land might be found to extend some distance to the 
east. No land was, however, sighted, and the constant fog, rain, 
and snow made navigation dangerous in a sea encumbered with 
ice. An attempt to go west proved unsuccessful, but on sailing 
south the Antarctic Circle was crossed, for the first time in the 
history of Man, on January 17, 1773. This alone would have 
been an achievement sufficient to make the voyage memorable, 
and it clearly proved that the ocean extended, in this quarter 
of the globe at least, far to the south of the position in which 
land had hitherto been imagined to exist. Although the sea was 
fairly open. Cook thought it unwise to venture beyond 67° 15', 
but determined to sail east for the lands discovered by Marion- 
Dufresne and Kerguelen, of which he had had tidings while at 
the Cape. On February 4 those in the Resolution had the 
misfortune to part company with the Adventure during a dense 
fog, and every effort to regain sight of her was unavailing. It 
was decided to sail for New Zealand, which had been named 
as a rendezvous in case of separation. It was reached without 
accident on March 26, on which day they entered Dusky Bay, 
near the south-west extremity. Some time was spent here 
examining the shores of the bay and the forest-covered country 
behind it, intercourse being opened with the natives. Sailing 
north on May 4, they entered Queen Charlotte's Sound, and soon 
saw the Adventure at anchor. After the separation Captain Fur- 
neaux had been prevented by a severe storm from returning 
to the spot where the Resolution had been last seen, and after 
cruising about for some time made sail for Van Diemen's Land, 
where he hoped to effect some repairs before making for the 
rendezvous in New Zealand. On March 11, the Adventure came 
to anchor in an excellent harbour, but, on sailing with a view to 
testing the continuity of Van Diemen's Land with New Holland 




encountered a gale which thwarted this purpose. Furneaux went 
north along the east coast, and, passing near the end of this, 
sighted the islands in the south of Bass Strait since known by his 
name. He seems to have been by this time convinced that no 
strait existed here ; so, turning east, he steered for New Zealand, 
arriving in Queen Charlotte's Sound early in April. The natives, 
who before Cook's arrival seem to have meditated an attempt to 
get possession of the Adventure, subsequently became friendly. 

H.M.S. Resolution. 
(From a drawing in the possession of the Royal Geographical Society.) 

and Cook planted a garden with European vegetables for their 
benefit. The voyage was resumed on June 7, the first task 
undertaken being the search for the southern continent to the 
east of New Zealand. 

By enforcing the use of wild celery and^scurvy grass. Cook 
kept the crew of the Resolution in good health, but scurvy 
prevailed for a time on board the Adventure. No land being 

240 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

found between New Zealand and 133° W., the ships turned north, 
and after passing near Pitcairn Island and crossing 20° S., steered 
for Tahiti, which was reached on August 16, 1773. A good 
many changes had taken place since the Endeavour left the island 
in 1769. The voyagers, however, were again well received and 
visited various parts of the coast ; but finding it difficult to obtain 
the needed supplies, they sailed on September 2 for Huahine. 
Here Cook saw again his old friend Oree, and obtained a large 
number of pigs, afterwards passing over to Ulietea, and thence 
sailing west for the islands discovered by Tasman in 1643 
and named by him Middelburg and Amsterdam. During the 
voyage thither the Hervey Islands were discovered, on Septem- 
ber 23, 1773. The native names of Tasman's islands were found 
to be Eua and Tongatabu, the latter being the largest of the group 
known as Tonga, and by Cook designated the Friendly Islands, 
from the harmony that seemed to reign among the natives and 
their courteous reception of their visitors. Their double canoes 
were much admired for their workmanship and sailing qualities. 

Before resuming his exploration of the ocean to the south, 
Cook decided to return to New Zealand for wood and water, 
as also for the purpose of visiting the natives on the east 
coast of the North Island. On October 21 they reached the 
neighbourhood of Cape Kidnappers, and, having left with the 
natives some of the pigs, seeds, etc., they had on board, sailed 
south, but, encountering stormy weather, lost sight of the Ad- 
venture on the 30th. They made their way through Cook Strait 
to Queen Charlotte Sound, but having searched the whole of 
this part of the coast without finding a trace of their consort, and 
repaired the ship as far as possible, they sailed for further ex- 
ploration on November 25, steering this time more south than 
east, and thus extending their search for land into latitudes never 
before approached on this side of the globe. On December 14 
islands of ice were seen, and for the next six weeks antarctic 
conditions of sea and weather prevailed, the Antarctic Circle 
being twice crossed, in the neighbourhood of 140° W. and 106° W. 
respectively. In the latter longitude the parallel of 70° S. was 
crossed for the first time in the world's history, and on January 30, 
1774, they reached the edge of the solid ice-field, rising into 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 241 

ridges like ranges of mountains. To have attempted to push 
farther south would have been a rash undertaking, and Cook 
resolved to go north, having ascertained beyond a doubt that no 
continent existed unless far to the south. 

Instead, however, of returning at once to the islands already 
visited, he steered somewhat east of north, and on again turning 
west the first land reached was the small Easter Island in the 
Eastern Pacific. During the passage thither Cook became 
seriously ill, and had only partially recovered when the island 
was reached on March 11. After endeavouring, without much 

The Resolution among Icebergs. 
(From the narrative of Cook's Second Voyage.) 

success, to obtain fresh provisions, and examining the gigantic 
statues for which the island is famous, the voyagers returned west, 
touching at Hiwaoa of the Marquesas group (La Dominica of 
the Spanish discoverers) and afterwards at Tiokea (Takaroa), 
discovered by Byron in 1765, before reaching Tahiti. During 
their stay here they had a sight of an imposing fleet of war 
canoes and transports which had been got together to operate 
against the island of Eimeo, the aggregate of the crews being 
estimated at over 7000 men. Here, as well as at Huahine and 
Ulietea, they met with the usual hospitable reception, and, sail- 
ing from the last-named, left behind the native Oedidee, who had 

H. 16 


been with them since their visit to the group in 1773. Steering 
nearly due west, they sighted, on June 16, an atoll composed of 
several rocky islets, and named it Palmerston, after one of the 
Lords of the Admiralty. Niue, to the south of the Samoa group, 
was next reached, and named Savage Island, from the character 
of the inhabitants. They then proceeded to Namuka (Rotterdam 
of Tasman) to procure water and fresh fruits, and on leaving this 
sighted the volcanic peak of the island of Tiafu (Amatafu), 
guessing at its character from its appearance. Cook next visited 
the important group lying west of the Fiji Islands, which has ever 
since retained the name bestowed by him on this occasion-^the 
New Hebrides. Its northern portion had been discovered by 
Quiros over a century and a half previously, but the southern 
islands were quite unknown until visited by Cook. The first 
islands he touched at were in the north — Lepers', Aurora, and 
Whitsuntide or Pentecost; but, leaving these, he anchored in 
a harbour on the north-east side of Mallicolo, which he named 
after the Earl of Sandwich. Steering south, he sighted in turn 
the volcanic islands of Ambrym ; Api, and a small island near it ; 
and Efat (which he also named Sandwich). At the last of these 
some hostilities occurred, and no long stay was made. The 
people seemed to be of a different race from those of Mallicolo, 
and spoke a different language. Sailing on, the voyagers passed 
the island of Erromango, and soon afterwards sighted a volcano 
pouring forth fire and smoke, which proved to be on the island 
of Tanna, which was accordingly visited. Showing suspicion at 
first, the natives became in time more friendly, and some attempt 
was made to examine the geography of the island. A party 
made its way for some distance inland in the hope of getting 
a nearer view of the volcano, which continued to show activity, 
but the broken nature of the ground and the thickness of the 
woods forced them to desist. 

Cook had now explored almost the whole of the group — one 
of the most important for the number and size of its islands in 
the whole of the Western Pacific, though, owing to international 
rivalries, it has been the last of all to be brought under definite 
European control. But before leaving it, he returned up the west 
side of the several islands and surveyed the coasts of the largest 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 243 

and longest-known island, the Tierra del Espiritu Santo of Quiros. 
Leaving this on August 31, he sailed south-west, and was re- 
warded by the discovery of the largest of the Pacific islands 
proper, which was struck near its north-west end. Here a 
landing was effected and friendly relations established v/ith the 
natives. An eclipse of the sun was observed and a portion of the 
coast surveyed, while a party pushed some little distance among 
the hills and obtained a view across the island. No native name 
could be found for it as a whole, and Cook therefore bestowed 
upon it that of New Caledonia, which it bears to this day. 
Off its south-east end he made the circuit of the Isle of Pines, 
and landed on a small island which he named Botany Island, 
from the interest its vegetation afforded to the botanists who 
accompanied him. 

It was now time to think of commencing the homeward 
voyage, but before doing this Cook once more put the ship's 
head for New Zealand, with the purpose of obtaining some 
refreshment before launching out on the watery expanse of the 
Southern Pacific. For, not content with his previous work in 
these high latitudes, he still proposed, instead of taking a 
frequented route homewards, to prosecute the main object of 
the voyage by once more crossing a part of the ocean first 
traversed by the Resolution in the previous year. On the way 
to New Zealand he made the discovery of a small island lying 
in the broad ocean and only some five miles in length. It was 
named Norfolk Island and was found to be covered to a great 
extent with a large coniferous tree, since generally known as the 
Norfolk Island pine, though botanically not a true pine. Some 
of the birds resembled those of New Zealand. Arrived once more 
at Queen Charlotte Sound, the voyagers found evident signs 
that the Adventure had been there since their last visit, evidence 
confirmed also by the natives. On November ro they once more 
sailed, steering south-east until about the latitude of Cape Horn, 
and then keeping on nearly due east until the coast of Tierra 
del Fuego was reached, on December r7, not far from the western 
end of the Strait of Magellan. In the whole of this course no land 
whatever was seen, and the last remaining chance that land of 
any extent might reach a latitude of from 50° to 60° to the south 


244 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

of the Pacific Ocean thus disappeared. But the indefatigable 
navigator had not yet done with discovery, for after doubling 
Cape Horn and passing through Le Maire Strait he continued 
to steer east, and in about 39° W. came upon one of the bleak 
and inhospitable lands which mark the approach to the Antarctic 
region. It was named Isle of Georgia in honour of the King, 
and bears the name (in the form South Georgia) to this day. 
The Resolution skirted the north-east coast of this island, which 
was much cut up with bays and harbours, though rendered 
inaccessible by ice for the greater part of the year. Continuing 
towards the south-east through a sea strewn with loose ice and 
icebergs, Cook sighted still another new land, calling the high 
promontory which came to view on February i. Cape Montague, 
while the group of islands of which it forms a part was named 
Sandwich Land, the southernmost receiving the name Southern 
Thule. The easterly course was maintained until February 22, when 
they had almost reached the longitude in which they had searched 
for Bouvet's land while on the outward voyage. As therefore 
it was impossible that any extensive land could exist in this 
region, the commander at last turned the ship's head north 
and made his way to the Cape, anchoring in Table Bay on 
March 21st, after first speaking a Dutch and an English East 
Indiaman and obtaining news of the Adventure. They learnt 
that this ship, which had parted company off the coast of New 
Zealand towards the end of 1773, had reached the Cape twelve 
months previously by a somewhat similar route across the South 
Pacific after the crew of one of her boats had been murdered 
and eaten by the people of New Zealand. During the home- 
ward voyage from the Cape, Cook was still mindful of the cause 
of geographical science, for on touching at the Azores he stopped 
long enough to permit of observations for the better determination 
of the longitude of the group. Finally the Resolution anchored 
at Spithead on July 30, after an absence from England of a little 
over three years. The Adventure, which during the voyage across 
the South Pacific had reached the latitude of 61° S., and had 
afterwards searched in vain for Bouvet's Cape Circumcision in 
the South Atlantic, had completed the voyage just over a year 
earUer, anchoring at Spithead on July 14, 1774. 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 ^ 245 

Thus ended one of the most fruitful voyages of discovery in 
the whole history of maritime enterprise. Its happy results were 
in great measure due to the precautions taken to preserve the 
health of the crews, precautions so successful that only one man 
had been lost by sickness during the whole three years. It had 
been possible to return again and again to the task in hand, 
which was not finally abandoned until the general character 
of the vast area lying around the South Polar region had been 
fully demonstrated, while the knowledge of the island groups of 
the Pacific had been no less materially advanced. 

Cook's experiences while battling with the ice of the southern 
regions had convinced him that any further advance in this 
direction would be impracticable, and the home authorities were 
content with what had been already done, making for the time 
being no attempt to penetrate the mysteries of the Antarctic. 
But at the opposite or northern extremity of the Pacific there still 
remained a large region very imperfectly known, although the 
labours of the Russians, since the beginning of the century, had 
thrown much light on the relations of Asia and North America, 
to the latter of which several Russian explorers (including Bering 
and Chirikof) had penetrated. In 1767 a government expedition 
under Lieutenant Synd had visited the American coast, and, during 
the decade immediately preceding Cook's return from his second 
voyage, hunters were active in the same region. But the results 
of these enterprises were little known to the outside world, and 
the British Government, which had already displayed its interest 
in northern discovery by the despatch of Captain Phipps in 1773 
to the sea east of Greenland, considered the geographical 
problems awaiting solution in the far north-east as worthy of 
the despatch of a new expedition. Although lately appointed 
Governor of Greenwich Hospital, Cook once more expressed his 
readiness to take command. The sloops Resolution and Discovery 
having been fitted out for the proposed voyage, Cook received 
his instructions from the Earl of Sandwich and his colleagues 
of the Admiralty. He once more sailed in the Resolution, 
while the Discovery was placed under the orders of Captain 
Charles Gierke, who had been both with Byron and with Cook 
on his two previous voyages. Lieutenant King, who sailed in 

246 , THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

the Resolution, undertook the necessary astronomical observations 
on that ship, while Mr William Bailey was to perform a similar 
task on board the Discovery. Mr Webber was engaged as 
draughtsman, and Mr Anderson (surgeon on board the Resolution), 
who had already taken part in Cook's second voyage, undertook 
the researches in natural history, as also in matters connected 
with the manners, customs, and languages of the natives who 
should be met with. Mr W. BUgh, master of the Resolution, 
who had already served under Cook in the second voyage, 
became afterwards known as commander of the ill-fated Bounty. 
Lieutenant Burney, of the Discovery, subsequently made a name as 
chronicler of voyages to the Pacific and the far North-east, while 
one of the midshipmen was Mr G. Vancouver, who lived to 
command in a subsequent voyage of discovery. Omai, a Society 
Islander who had been brought to Europe by Furneaux in the 
second voyage, accompanied the expedition, and proved of 
great service in dealing with the peoples visited, down to the 
time when he was finally left behind in his South Sea home. 
A number of domestic animals were also taken in the hope that 
they might become established in the countries visited. 

On June 25, 1776, Cook sailed from the Nore in the Resolu- 
tion, finally leaving Plymouth on July 12, the Discovery following 
on August I. The island of Tahiti was once more chosen as the 
place of refreshment whence the final start for the northern region 
should be made, and to reach this destination the route via the 
' Cape and New Zealand was again adopted. It is unnecessary to 
dwell upon the outward voyage, during which, in December, the 
ships touched land at Adventure Sound, Tasmania, holding some 
intercourse with the natives, who were found to differ from those 
seen on the first voyage on the east coast of Australia. The stay 
here lasted from January 26 to 30, 1777. On the latter date the 
voyagers sailed for New Zealand, arriving at Queen Charlotte 
Sound on February 10, and resuming the voyage on the 2Sth, 
taking with them two of the natives. Before reaching Tahiti they 
touched at several hitherto undiscovered islands, besides others 
previously visited by them. The first touched was known to the 
natives as Mangea, and at the second Omai found some of his 
countrymen who had been carried out of their course during a 



voyage and had arrived there after suffering great hardships. At 
Watiu (Atiu) as also at the Hervey (since known also as Cook's) 
Islands, which had been discovered in 1773, the natives were 
found to speak a tongue closely resembling that of Tahiti, though 
physically the Hervey islanders recalled the New Zealanders 
in their fierce and rugged aspect. Diverging somewhat to the 
north. Cook reached Palmerston (discovered in 1774) on April 13, 
and spent some time examining the nine or ten low islets of 
which it is composed. After passing Savage Island (also visited 
in 1774), he put in at Namuka and thence visited Hapai, as 
also the islands of the Friendly group which had not before been 
examined, cordial relations being maintained throughout with the 
natives. A lengthened stay was made at Tongatabu, where 
an eclipse was observed on July 5, and soon afterwards final 
leave was taken of the Friendly Islands, after a total visit of 
nearly three months. 

On August 8, land was again seen and proved to be the island 
known to its inhabitants as Tubuai, of the group since called 
the Austral Islands. Tahiti was reached on the 12th, and the 
experiences of the voyagers during their stay in the neighbour- 
hood of this island were in the main a repetition of those of the 
former visit. Intelligence was obtained of the recent visit of 
Spanish ships to Tahiti, .but it was ascertained from individuals 
who had been left behind that they had already taken their 
departure. Before finally leaving, the remaining domestic animals 
were landed, and Omai was left at Huahine, where a small 
house was built for his use, and an inscription with the names 
of the ships and their commanders cut upon its outside. Cook 
left the island on November 2, 1777, and, after a month's stay at 
Ulietea and a shorter stay at Borabora, jailed away to begin the 
real purpose of the voyage — the examination of the Northern 
Pacific and the possibihty of a route thither via the Arctic Ocean. 
On December 22, the equator was crossed (in 156° 45' W.), and two 
days later a low-lying atoll with a few clumps of coconuts was 
discovered in the midst of the ocean. Here an eclipse of the 
sun was observed on December 30, and the voyage was resumed on 
January 2, the name Christmas Island having been given to the atoll 
from the fact that the voyagers had there spent their Christmas. 

248 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

The land next sighted (January 18) was an island belonging to the 
important Sandwich group, now known by the native name of 
Hawaii. These islands had almost certainly been visited by the 
Spaniards in the sixteenth century, but no practical result had 
ensued, and the group was to all intents and purposes unknown 
until Cook's visit. In spite of the distance from other Pacific 
groups the language of the islanders was found to be closely 
akin to that of Tahiti, so that intercourse could be easily 
established. Captain Cook stayed some days at Atui (Kauai), 
the people proving friendly, and made an excursion into the 
interior. The ships subsequently touched at Niihau, and on 
February 2 stood away to the north, having laid in a fair supply 
of fresh provisions and water. Five separate islands had been 
seen, all lying towards the north-west end of the group, and 
of these only three, viz. Oahu, Atui (Kauai) and Oneehow 
(Niihau), were of any size. The group received the name by 
which it was long afterwards known in honour of the Earl of 
Sandwich, to whom recourse had already been had more than 
once as sponsor for new lands discovered by Cook. The natives 
had made a good impression by their frank and friendly nature 
as well as by their excellent physique and expertness as 

On March 7, the north-west coast of North America, here 
known at the time as New Albion, was reached. An important 
field for discovery now lay before the voyagers, for this coast 
from about 40° northwards was perhaps the least known of any 
of the continental outlines outside the polar regions. Some slight 
results, it is true, had been attained by the Spaniards, and we 
may here pause to consider the various efforts made by them, 
down to 1778, to extend their knowledge of the coast line north 
of their settlements in Western Mexico. 

During the sixteenth century several voyages had been made, 
the most important being that of Cabrillo and Ferrelo (1542), 
who reached the outer bay of which the modern bay of San 
Francisco is an inlet. Early in the seventeenth century Vizcaino 
had sailed along the coast and claimed to have discovered an 
excellent port in 37" N., to which he gave the name Monterey. 
From the date of his voyage (1603), practically nothing further 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 249 

was done for over a century and a half, but in 1768 a movement 
was set on foot for the resumption of discovery, and it resulted 
in the despatch of expeditions both in 1769 and 1770 under 
Don Gaspar de Portola, who in the former year made his way 
by land to a point not far south of the Golden Gate or entrance 
to San Francisco Bay, while the southern part of that bay was 
for the first time examined. The chief result of the expedition 
of 1770 was the founding of the "Presidio" or government 
station of Monterey. In 1772 a land expedition under Don 
Pedro Fages explored the country round San Francisco Bay, 
and in 1775-6 a presidio and mission were founded on the 
site of the modern city of San Francisco. Meanwhile the work 
of exploration was being pushed further north by the naval 
expeditions of Juan Perez in 1774, and of Heceta and Quadra 
in 1775. Perez sailed from Monterey in the Santiago on 
June II, 1774, and reached the latitude of 55°, though without 
finding any good port on the part of the coast examined. But 
on the return voyage he touched at the harbour afterwards known 
as Nootka Sound, in 49° 35', naming it San Lorenzo. In 
48° 10' he saw a snow-white mountain, which he named Santa 
Rosalia, but which subsequently became known as Mount 
Olympus. In 1775 the chief command was given to Don Bruno 
Heceta, who sailed in the Santiago, while the Sonora had as 
captain Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, of whom 
more will be heard later. These voyagers went as far as 
56° 47' N., touching at various points (including, possibly, the 
mouth of the Columbia River), but without making a precise 
survey of the coast. 

Such was the state of knowledge when Cook took up the 
task, much still remaining to be done before the Spanish surveys 
in the south could be satisfactorily linked with those of the 
Russians in the north. 

The point at which the American coast was struck by Cook 
was in about 44!^° N., where the land was found to be well- 
wooded and diversified with hills and valleys. After coasting 
along, hindered by contrary winds, until March 29, the ships 
came to anchor near an inlet in which a snug cove was found, 
offering a good opportunity for overhauling the ships and for 

250 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

the supply of the wants of the crews. This was at Nootka 
Sound on the western side of Vancouver Island, though the 
insular character of this was not recognised, the strait at its 
southern end having been passed unobserved. The neighbour- 
hood was inhabited, and friendly intercommunication with the 
natives prevailed during the whole 'stay, much interesting in- 
formation being obtained as to their habits and mode of life. 
The masts of the ships having been refitted by the help of trees 
cut down near by, and other necessaries completed, Cook sailed 
on April 26, in spite of threatening weather which compelled 
him to seek the open sea. Partly on this account and partly 
from the wish to press on to the scene of the contemplated 
exploration in the north, no attempt was made to follow the 
coast line, which Cook would otherwise have done, in order to 
clear up the question of the strait supposed to have been 
discovered by Admiral Fonte. The next place sighted (May i) 
was Mount Edgecumbe, soon afterwards followed by the Bay of 
Islands and Mount Fairweather near Cross Sound, and, a week 
later, by Mount St Elias. Cape SuckKng, Bering's Bay, and Kaye 
Island were seen and named, the last in honour of Dr Kaye, 
afterwards Dean of Lincoln, who had shown much interest in the 
voyage. Arrived at the inlet to the east of the Kenai Peninsula, 
which he named Prince William's Sound, Cook explored it with 
a view to finding a passage to the north. Unsuccessful in this — 
after passing, among other points, one which he identified with 
the Cape Hermogenes of Bering — he made his way, west of the 
same peninsula, to the still larger inlet which has since borne his 
own name. Although very doubtful of the existence of a passage 
in this direction, he determined to settle the question by a 
thorough examination. By ascending both the main and the 
eastern arm (the latter named Turnagain) until they became 
narrow and nearly fresh, he conclusively proved that no passage 
either to Baffin or Hudson Bay was to be found in this 
locality. Returning to the open sea, he followed the coast 
round the Alaska peninsula, frequently in sight of high rugged 
mountains, some volcanic, and, passing Unalaska and others 
of the Aleutian Islands, went up the east side of the Bering 
Sea to the westernmost extremity of the continent, separated 




from Asia only by Bering Strait. To this he gave the name 
Cape Prince of Wales. Although the strait had been brought 
to light by Russian travellers many years before, the results of 
their labours were so little known in Western Europe that no 
accurate representation had found its way into the maps, and 
some at least of these had placed the extremity of America much 
to the east of its true position^ Before reaching this point, 
various traces of the presence of the Russians had been seen, 
while the natives had been found to differ much from those 
encountered further south. The sea-otter, the much-prized fur of 

The Sea-Otter. 

(Drawing by J. Webber in the narrative of Cook's Third Voyage.) 

which was soon to offer so powerful an incentive to voyagers to 
this coast (as it had already begun to do in the case of the 
Russians), had been observed by the naturalists during the voyage, 
and a drawing, here reproduced, had been made by the artist. 

Crossing the strait to a bay on the Asiatic side Cook made 
acquaintance with the Chukches of this region, and then returning 
to the American side endeavoured to push northwards, reaching 
Cape Lisburne, where the coast bends decidedly to the east. 
The sea was however so encumbered with ice that further 
^ Miiller's map (see p. 268) had erred in the opposite direction. 

252 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

advance proved impossible, and the same difficulties were 
encountered both in the open sea and on the Asiatic coast, 
which was followed to Cape North. The season was so far 
advanced that it seemed unwise to continue the search for a 
passage to the Atlantic, and it was resolved to defer the attempt 
till the next summer. Returning south through the strait. Cook 
examined the deep bay on the American coast which has ever 
since retained the name Norton Sound, given by him in honour 
of the Speaker of the House of Commons. Proof was obtained 
of the non-existence of the large island shown on some maps as 
lying between Asia and America^ though one or two small 
islands in the northern part of the Bering Sea were touched at. 
The largest of these received the name Gierke's Island, though 
since better known by the name St Lawrence given it by the 
Russians. Hence the voyagers made their way back to Una- 
laska, where the ships were once more overhauled. During the 
stay several Russians were met with, the principal of whom, named 
Ismaelof, was well acquainted with the geography of these regions, 
and supplied Cook with information about it, and with charts. 
He also took charge of a report (with chart) from the English 
Captain to the Lords of the Admiralty. Cook's own observations 
enabled him to lay down the positions of several of the Aleutian 
Islands, and the latitude of the harbour in Unalaska in which he 
stayed was accurately determined. From the information given 
by Ismaelof, it appeared that the Russians had not yet succeeded 
in extending their settlements to the American mainland. 

It was now necessary to return south to suitable winter 
quarters, and Cook considered that the Sandwich group would 
in every way be most suitable for this purpose. The first island 
to be sighted was Maui, which had not been visited on the 
former occasion, and soon after the ships approached Hawaii, 
the largest island and the one situated most to the south-west 
of the whole group. The voyagers were surprised to see the 
summits covered with snow. They brought the vessels to anchor 
in the bay on the west side of the island, soon to be the scene 

^ The belief in the existence of such an island had evidently originated in 
the idea that the western part of Alaska was separated from the Continent. 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-I780 253 

of the tragedy which deprived the expedition of its commander. 
The reception given to the voyagers was remarkably cordial, 
Cook being regarded with an almost superstitious reverence and 
all the wants of the crews supplied with the utmost liberality. 
After some stay the ships took their departure, the natives 
remaining still the best of friends. But the ships had hardly 
sailed any distance before the Resolution's mast was found to be 
urgently in need of repair, and Cook, after some hesitation, 
decided, with lamentable consequences to himself, to complete 
the refit in the bay which had just been left. The beginning 
of troubles came, as was so often the case in such voyages, from 
the pilfering habits of the people, which forced the crew to have 
recourse to reprisals. All might still have gone well, but for 
some unfortunate misunderstandings which turned the once 
hospitable people into temporary foes. While on shore with a 
small party Cook was attacked by an excited crowd and almost 
immediately received a fatal wound. The whole of the ships' 
companies were for a time in imminent danger, for, flushed with 
their success and mistaking the pacific overtures of the English 
■for cowardice, they assumed a contemptuous and threatening 
attitude, which made reprisals necessary, deeply as they were 
regretted by Captain Clerke, who had now assumed command. 
The result was an eventual resumption of friendly relations, 
which proved the essentially pacific disposition of the islanders, 
or at any rate of most of their chiefs. The fatal occurrence was 
in fact all the more melancholy from the circumstance that it 
was the result of no premeditated hostility, but of one of the 
sudden misunderstandings which had so often before been suc- 
cessfully smoothed over. 

Thus perished, to the profound sorrow of all his associates, 
to whom he had become endeared by his thoughtful considera- 
tion for their welfare, the most distinguished navigator Great 
Britain has ever produced. His fame could hardly have been 
increased had he lived to complete the voyage, for the task to 
which he had devoted himself, the filling in of the broad out- 
lines of the geography of the Pacific and Southern Oceans, had 
already been achieved. Although a new attempt to return by a 
northern route was to be made, it could, under the conditions 

2 54 THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 [CHAP. 

then prevailing, lead to no other result than the negative one 
already obtained. 

The loss of their beloved commander in no way deterred the 
survivors from prosecuting the task committed to them, and, after 
brief visits to some of the other islands, Captain Gierke resolved 
to sail for Kamchatka, there to prepare for the northward voyage 
in the ensuing summer,- As his route would cross an almost 
unvisited part of the Pacific Ocean, he hoped to be rewarded 
with the discovery of some new island, though, as it turned 
out, this ambition was not gratified. During the passage ,to 
Kamchatka difficulties were experienced owing to bad weather, 
and to a leak which had showed itself in the Resolution. The 
snow-covered land was however sighted on. April 23, soon after 
which the ships entered Avacha Bay, and the needed supplies 
were obtained through the courtesy of the Russian Commander 
of Bolcheretsk. Bering Strait was reached on July 5, but the 
ice immediately afterwards encountered diminished the hope of 
advancing further to the north. The difficulties were in fact not 
a whit less than in the previous year, and after tacking in various 
directions amid the ice and attempting in vain to push'along both- 
the American and the Asiatic coasts. Captain Clerke was at last 
obliged to fall back upon the circuitous route vi& the Cape of 
Good Hope, the highest latitude attained having been 70° 33'. 
But he did not live to complete much of the homeward voyage, 
for his health, which under the attacks of consumption had for 
some time been gradually declining, now became rapidly worse, 
and he expired on August 22, 1779, the day before the ships 
reached Petropaulovsk. Here he was buried, a monument (still 
to be seen) being erected over his grave. . The end had no doubt 
been hastened by the rigorous climate and the anxieties to which 
he had lately been subjected, but which he had cheerfully en- 
countered in the determination to do all in his power to carry 
out the object of the voyage. The chief command now fell on 
Captain Gore, who had commanded the Discovery since Cook's 
death, and who now removed to the Resolution, while Lieutenant 
King, whose journal supplied the official narrative of the 
voyage after the death of Cook, was promoted to the cornmand 
of the Discovery. The return was successfully accomplished 

IX] THE PACIFIC OCEAN, 1764-1780 255 

by way of Macao, the Straits of Sunda, and the Cape, and 
although war had now broken out with France, Spain, and the 
revolted American Colonies, the orders given by the respective 
governments to refrain from molesting the voyagers enabled them 
to escape all hostilities en route. The west coast of Ireland 
was sighted on August 12, 1780, and on October 4 the ships 
arrived safely at the Nore after an absence of over four years. 
Only five men had been lost by sickness during the whole of that 

The conclusion of the last of Cook's great voyages of dis- 
covery forms a fitting close to the present chapter, and before 
continuing the narrative of Pacific exploration it will be desirable 
to look back at the course of discovery by the Russians during 
the eighteenth century in Northern and North-Eastern Asia, with 
which the work of Pacific navigators had begun, as we have seen, 
to show points of contact. 


I 700- 1 800 

It has been seen in a former chapter that the journeys of the 
Russian adventurers who had spread over Siberia during the 
seventeenth century had brought about a general knowledge of 
that vast region as far as the shores of the Pacific. The extremity 
of the Old World had, it is claimed, been rounded by the 
Cossack Deshnef, while the remote shores of Kamchatka had 
been brought within the cognisance of the Russian authorities. 
But the results of these journeys had never become widely known, 
and there was much vagueness in the information acquired by 
the travellers themselves. In the eighteenth century these rough 
and ready methods began, here as elsewhere, to give place to 
more precise and scientific procedure, leading to results not 
entirely to be dispensed with at the opening of the twentieth 
century. The impulse towards further effort was due to Peter 
the Great, who during the latter part of his life showed a keen 
interest in the acquisition of a better knowledge of these remote 
parts of his Empire, especially as regarded the relations of Asia to 
America, He did not live to see much of the work accomphshed, 
but a good beginning, at least, had been made before his death. 

About 17 10, attention was called to reports of the existence 
of islands in the frozen sea to the north of the Siberian coast, 
and in the following year two separate expeditions were equipped 
for the purpose of settHng the question. The first, destined for 
the coast east of the Yana, was entrusted to the Cossack Merkurei 
Vagin, and he was accompanied as guide by Jacob Permakof, 


who had deposed to having once seen an island on the far side of 
the Sviatoi Nos. The explorers reached this cape, and, sailing 
north, discovered (so it was said) an island 9 to 12 days in 
circumference, beyond which they thought they saw another large 
land. On the return the party suffered so much that both Vagin 
and Permakof were murdered by their men, in revenge for having 
involved them in such hardships, and great doubt exists as to 
the reality of the supposed discovery. The second expedition, 
under Vasilei Stadukhin, reached a promontory running east from 
the mouth of the Kolyma, but the way. was stopped by ice, and 

Sketch-map of North-eastern Siberia. 

no island could be seen. In 1715, Alexei Markof went north 
from the mouth of the Yana, travelling over the ice with sledges, 
but he too saw no trace of islands. In 1724, one Feodot Amossof 
searched for islands, first sailing east from the mouth of the 
Kolyma and afterwards going over the ice with sledges. He 
reported the discovery of land, on which were huts covered with 
earth, but it was of no great size and only distant a day's journey 
from the coast, so that in any case the discovery was of slight 
importance, while some have altogether doubted the truth ol 
Amossdf's statements. Thus the efforts in this direction led for 



a time to exceedingly slight results, and even if the island said 
to have been seen by Vagin was one of the New Siberia group, 
it was not until many years later that the discovery was effectively 
followed up. 

In an easterly direction, the newly awakened enterprise of 
the Russians was decidedly more successful. We have seen in 
a former chapter that Kamchatka had been reached by Atlassof 
about 1697, and that Russian influence soon began to extend 
over the greater part of the country. The enquiries here made 
elicited some vague information about the islands beyond, and 
some indications of a large land to the east — probably the 
American continent — seem also to have been gathered. In 1706 
the southernmost point of "Kamchatka was reached, and the 
nearest of the Kurile Islands sighted. In 17 10, some ship- 
wrecked Japanese fell into the hands of the Russians, and 
supplied information on the geography of the lands to the 
south. In 1712 and 1713, two expeditions to the Kuriles were 
conducted by the Cossack Ivan Kosirevski, who collected some 
fairly precise information and put down the results in a series 
of charts. With regard to the Japanese islands, the enquiries 
led to the belief that Yezo really consisted of several distinct 
islands, though it had been shown correctly as one by the Dutch 
navigator Vries in the Kastrikom, whose voyage has been spoken 
of in a former chapter. The route hitherto followed to this 
remote region was the difficult northern one by the Anadyr, but 
about this time efforts were made to open up a shorter and 
more southerly route across the Sea of Okhotsk. In 171 2 and 
1 7 13, two parties of Cossacks explored the shores of that sea 
and examined the Shantar group of islands lying in about 55° N. 
In 1 7 14, orders came from the Czar Peter to attempt the voyage 
to Kamchatka, and the Cossack Sokolof was sent with some 
sailors and ship's carpenters for this purpose. Among the sailors 
was a Dutchman from the town of Hoorn, Henry Busch by name. 
A vessel was built and a first voyage undertaken in 17 16. The 
navigators at first followed the coast in an easterly direction, but 
encountering an adverse wind were driven across to the west 
coast of Kamchatka just north of the Tigil. The coast was 
examined as far as the mouth of the Kompakova, where they 


wintered, returning to Okhotsk the next year after a tedious 
voyage, owing to obstructions caused by ice. 

In 1 7 19, the Czar himself issued instructions to the surveyors 
Evreinof and Lushin for an expedition across Siberia to Kam- 
chatka, and thence to the region where the two continents were 
expected to approach most closely. The text of this document 
— still in existence — was annotated by the Emperor's own hand. 
The venture was not successful, for the farthest point reached 
seems to have been one of the Kurile Islands. But the project 
was not allowed to lapse, and before his death in 1725, the 
Emperor once more drew up instructions for an expedition, this 
time placed under the command of Vitus Bering, then a captain 
in the Russian navy. The choice was a fortunate one, for Bering, |- 
by his skill and determination, achieved results which place him 
in the front rank of explorers of the far North-East. With his 
coadjutors Lieutenants Martin Spangberg and Alexei Chirikof, he 
set out from St Petersburg in February, 1725, and, after some 
time had been spent in the tedious work of transporting the 
stores across the whole length of Siberia, the party was at length 
reunited at Okhotsk in July, 1727. Even then there was much 
to be done before the real work of discovery began. A new 
vessel had been built at Okhotsk, and in this the expedition 
crossed over to Kamchatka, which was crossed by means of 
sledges during the winter. At the Nishne Kamchatka fort, the 
principal settlement on the east coast, another vessel was built 
and named the Gabriel. In this the explorers set sail on 
July 20, 1728, following the coast to the north-east and carefully 
charting it. On August 10 they sighted the island which still 
bears the name St Lawrence, given to it on this occasion from 
the Saint associated with that date in the calendar, and on the 
iSth reached a point (in 67° 18' N. according to their observa- 
tions), where the coast bent decidedly to the west, and Bering 
correctly concluded that he had passed the farthest extremity of 
Asia. The point seems to have been that known to the Russians 
as Serdze Kamen (in 67° N., according to Nordenskiold), and 
Bering had therefore followed the northern coast of the continent 
beyond the point where it approaches nearest to America. He 
for the first time laid down the coast-line accurately in a map, 

17 — 2 


and though the voyage of Deshnef had, many years earher, shown 
to those acquainted with its results that the continents were 
separated, the intervening strait deservedly bears the name of the 
later and more scientific explorer^. Bering now turned, as he 
feared he might be entangled in the ice, but did not give up the 
hope of effecting some discovery to the east. After reaching 
the Kamchatka river on September 20 (old style), and spending- 
the winter in that region, he set out again in June, 1729. But 
adverse winds prevented him from reaching any land, so turning 
back, and rounding the south point of Kamchatka, he reached 
Okhotsk on July 23. One useful result of this voyage was the 
determination of the exact position of the south end of Kam- 
chatka, for many false ideas were current in Europe at the time, 
some supposing (and the idea held its ground to some extent 
even after Bering's voyage) that this peninsula and Yezo formed 
one continuous land, as may be seen delineated in some maps of 
the period. 

Some time now elapsed before Bering renewed his efforts at 
exploration to the east of Kamchatka^ but meanwhile Afanasei 
Shestakof, commander of the Cossacks at Yakutsk, came forward 
with proposals for a new attempt. He was successful in his 
application, and a large expedition was set on foot, the command 
being given jointly to himself and to Dmitri Paulutzki, a captain 
of dragoons, while among the subordinate members was Michael 
Gvosdef, a surveyor. The two leaders separated (apparently 
owing to a dispute), each prosecuting the enterprise indepen- 
dently. Shestakof reached Okhotsk in 1729, and sent his cousin, 
Ivan Shestakof, in the Gabriel (Bering's ship) to map the islands 
between Okhotsk and Kamchatka. He himself followed in the 
Fortuna, but met with shipwreck, and, though then escaping 
the fate of most of his men, subsequently lost his life in an 
engagement with the Chukches. At the same time a voyage 
seems to have been made independently, under his orders, and 
in it Gvosdef apparently took part, for it is recorded that in 1 730 
he reached a land opposite the Chukche country in 65°66'N., 
which must, it seems, have been the American continent. 

' Within recent years Deshnef s name has been given to the easternmost 
point of Asia. 


Paulutzki had meanwhile made his way overland to the posts 
on the Kolyma, and in 1731 proceeded against the Chukches, 
his march helping to a somewhat better knowledge of the region 
of the Upper Anadyr. Several engagements were fought, and the 
force made its way along the north coast beyond the " Chukotskoi 
Nos," apparently as far as Bering's turning point. The geo- 
graphical results of the whole undertaking were, however, by no 
means striking. 

It was in the following year that, largely through Bering's 
initiative, but with the warm support of Kirilof, secretary of the 
Senate, a series of expeditions was planned, which proved of the 
greatest importance for the geography of north-east Asia. A com- 
prehensive scheme was drawn up and preparations were made with 
the greatest thoroughness. The aid of the Academy of Sciences 
was invoked, and some of its members — Gmelin the naturalist, 
De la Croyere the astronomer, and the historian G. F. Miiller — 
volunteered to take part in the enterprise for purposes of research, 
while a number of naval officers were appointed to command the 
several expeditions contemplated. The objects in view were not 
only the exploration of the still unknown area between Asia and 
America, but the complete survey of the northern coasts of 
Siberia, as well as explorations within the vast interior of that 

The work to which the greatest importance was attached was 
the prosecution of discovery east of Kamchatka, this being en- 
trusted to Bering himself (appointed Commodore), and his 
associates Spangberg and Chirikof. Spangberg was sent forward 
with the heaviest materials in February 1733, and proceeded to 
Okhotsk to superintend the building of ships. A start was made 
during the same year by Bering and by the members of the 
Academy, Chirikof bringing up the rear still later. A good deal 
of delay occurred in the preparations for the eastern voyage, and 
the interval was utilised by the Academicians in surveys and 
scientific researches on land. De la Croyere accompanied 
Chirikof to the mouth of the Ilim and thence went vid Irkutsk 
to Lake Baikal and the Upper Amur. Gmelin and Miiller 
ascended the Irtish, and proceeding by Tomsk to Yeneseisk, 
spent the summer of 1735 examining the region east of Baikal, 


while in 1736 they turned their attention to the upper basin of 
the Lena. Unfortunately a fire at Yakutsk caused the loss of all 
Gmelin's itineraries, and he therefore returned in 1737 to the 
Upper Lena, while De la Croyere went to the lower parts of the 
same river and thence to the Olenek. Meanwhile Miiller, as his 
health had broken down, gave up the idea of proceeding on the 
eastern voyage, but was commissioned to stay in Siberia and 
extend his knowledge of that country by further travel. Gmelin 
also obtained his recall, but the loss of these helpers was made 
\ good by the arrival, in 1738, of the naturalist George William 
^ Steller, who eventually took part in the main expedition. A 
student named Krasheninikof had already been sent forward to 
Kamchatka, and it is to him we owe the first scientific account of 
the country. 

By these several journeys- a scientific basis was for the first 
time supplied for the mapping of Siberia in its broad outlines, 
though large gaps of course remained, and have only been partially 
filled in in our own day. During the same period several voyages 
were undertaken on the north coast with a view to testing the 
possibility of a passage by sea, such as had been the dream of so 
many of the early navigators in the sixteenth and early seventeenth 
centuries. The first of these was devoted to an examination of 
the most westerly part of the route, from Arkhangel to the Ob. 
This voyage was under the command of Lieutenants Pavlof and 
Muravief, who sailed in 1734 and entered the Kara Sea, but 
returned to winter at Pustozersk on the Pechora. In 1735 '^'^^y 
again passed through the Yugor Shar into the Kara Sea and 
followed the coast as far as 77° 30' (by their reckoning), but then 
turned back without reaching the Ob. In 1736 and 1737 the quest 
was taken up by Lieutenants Mlyagin and Skuratof, who passed 
the Yamal (Yalmal) peninsula and sailed up the gulf into which 
the Ob debouches. The next section of the passage, between 
the Ob and the Yenesei, was successfully accomplished in 1737, 
after three previous failures, by Lieutenant Owzin, accompanied 
by Ivan Koshelef. During Owzin's four voyages the shores of the 
gulfs of Ob and Taz were carefully mapped. In 1738 the work 
was continued by Minin (who had previously been with Owzin 
and Koshelef), with Sterlegof as mate. During the first two 


summers little advance was made, but in the winter of 1739-40 
Sterlegof pushed on with sledges along the west coast of the 
Taimur peninsula as far as 75° 26', and in the following summer 
the ship was taken almost as far, the voyagers then returning on 
account of snow-blindness. They had done a creditable piece of 
work, for the coast beyond the Yenesei, almost as far as the Lena, 
was till then virtually unknown ; the great northward projection 
of the peninsula terminating in Cape Chelyuskin, and the remote- 
ness of this part of the coast from the main centres of Russian 
occupation in Siberia, rendering it the least accessible of all. 

Sketch-map of North-western Siberia. 

Meanwhile exploration of the section east of the Taimur was 
being carried out from the Lena as a base, whence voyages were 
made both to the west and east. Setting out from Yakutsk in 
1735, Lieutenant Prontchishchef, with the mate Chelyuskin, 
wintered on the Olenek, and during the next summer passed the 
mouths of the Anabara and Khatanga. But he found his way 
barred by islands and ice-bound channels before reaching the 
extremity of the Taimur peninsula, though he reached the latitude 
of 77" 25' (of 29' according to one account) in the endeavour to 


turn these obstacles. He died soon after his return, and his 
young wife, who had accompanied him, two days later. The task 
was taken up in 1739 by Lieutenant Khariton Laptef, assisted 
by Chelyuskin and Chekin. After reaching Cape Thaddeus, on 
the east side of the Taimur peninsula, during the first summer; 
■Laptef took his ship back to winter-quarters on the Khatanga, 
but lost it in 1740 while attempting to return. The rest of the 
journeys had therefore to be carried out by land, but they were 
successful in affording surveys of the greater part of the coast of 
this northern extremity of Siberia as far as the Yenesei. In one 
of his journeys, carried out in 1742, Chelyuskin seems to have 
rounded the northern extremity of the Old World — the cape 
which now bears his name. 

From the Lena eastward the sea had frequently been navigated, 
as we have already seen, though the vessels employed had been 
little fitted for successful voyages in such seas. Small success like- 
wise attended the newer efforts. In 1735 Lieutenant Lassinius, 
who had started from Yakutsk with Khariton Laptef, advanced 
hardly 100 miles east of the Lena delta, and on wintering 
in this region his party was attacked by scurvy, and the 
leader and many of his men died. The attempt was renewed 
in 1736 by Dmitri Laptef, who, however, hesitated to risk an 
advance through the ice, and returned without effecting anything. 
In 1739 he succeeded in rounding the capes east of the Lena 
(Borkhaya and Sviatoi) — which had seemed impossible on the 
former voyage — but was then frozen in. During the winter some 
good survey work was done. In 1740 Laptef sailed past the 
Bear Islands, but was brought up by the ice off Great Cape 
Baranof He remained in this region till 1742, and, his efforts 
to advance by sea being still frustrated, went overland to the 
Anadyr and made a survey of the route. This closed the attempts 
at exploration on the north coast for a time. 

While superintending the general progress of the whole series 
of expeditions, Bering's own preparations for his eastern voyage 
advanced but slowly, and he had seen all the subordinate under- 
takings well under way before finally setting out himself. The 
last of those expeditions to be spoken of is that of Bering's old 
associate Spangberg, to whom was committed the task of exploring 


the region between Kamchatka and Japan, about which, as already 
mentioned, much uncertainty still prevailed. Three vessels in all 
took part in the voyage — the Archangel Michael under Spangberg 
himself, the Hope under Lieutenant Walton, and the Gabriel, 
previously used for the first Kamchatka expedition, under Mid- 
shipman Sheltinga. The start was made from Okhotsk in June, 
1738, the sea having till then been blocked by ice. After making 
arrangements for wintering in Kamchatka, Spangberg undertook 
a preliminary reconnaissance of a part of the Kuriles (as far as 
46° N.), postponing the main voyage till 1739. In May of that 
year the explorers again sailed for the Kuriles, but in the following 
month the commander and Lieutenant Walton became separated 
in a gale, and continued the voyage independently, both reaching 
Japanese territory and opening up friendly intercourse with the 
inhabitants. Spangberg,. accompanied by Sheltinga, struck the 
coast of the main island (according to his reckoning) in 38° 41' N., 
and advanced south to 38° 25'. On the return voyage he touched 
at a part of the island of Yezo, placed by him in 43° 50' N., and 
here made the acquaintance of the hairy Ainus. He continued 
his explorations in this region, and again sighted, land (Matsumai) 
in 41° 22' N., apparently taking it to be a different island from that 
already visited, though it must really have been the southern 
extremity of Yezo. He thus failed to set at rest all the uncer- 
tainties about the lands north of Hondo, though he did good 
service in determining the position of Japan relatively to Kam- 
chatka. He was back at Okhotsk early in September. 

Walton touched at various points on the Japanese, coasts, 
reaching a town of some size in the neighbourhood of 33° 48' N., 
and seeing a large number of Japanese vessels. Before beginning 
the return voyage he stretched eastward with a view to ascertaining 
if more land existed in that direction, but, not finding any, made 
his way to Kamchatka and Okhotsk, reaching the latter more 
than a week before Spangberg. For the purpose of verifying and 
completing his surveys, Spangberg undertook a second expedition 
in 1741-42, but as he hardly advanced beyond the most northern 
of the Kuriles, it was entirely without result. 

The preparations for the eastern voyage under Bering himself 
had meanwhile at last been completed, and the two vessels St Paul 


'^ and St Peter left Okhotsk September 4, 1 740, under the respective 
commands of Bering and Chirikof. The winter was spent at the 
port in Avacha Bay which has ever since been known as Petro- 
1 pavlovsk from the names of the two ships. The real voyage of 
\ discovery — the most important yet made in these seas — com- 
V^ menced June 4, 1741, the scientific experts, Steller' and De la 
[ Croyfere, having meanwhile joined the ships. The expedition 
j sailed at first a little east of south, but finding no land in this 
direction, stood to the north-east and soon encountered a severe 
storm, in which the ships became separated, never to meet again 
during the whole voyage. On July 29 (new style) Bering sighted 
, the great peak of Mount St Elias, which received its name on this 
occasion. It was taken to be a volcano — erroneously, as we now 
I know. Hence he endeavoured to follow the coast to the north- 
west, but was hampered by constant fog. It is somewhat difficult 
to trace his movements in detail, but he is known to have passed 
close to the outer side of Kadiak Island, to have sighted a portion 
of the Alaska peninsula, and to have spent some days at the 
Shumagin Islands, afterwards passing south of the line of the 
Aleutian Islands. Some of the volcanoes in these were sighted 
from a distance, and thus for the first time brought to light. 
Meanwhile Chirikof had reached the American coast considerably 
more to the south and east (in about 56^ N.), and a few days earlier 
than Bering. A disaster occurred almost immediately, for two 
boats' crews, which had been sent on shore in succession, ^txt. 
never again heard of, having in all probability been killed by the 
natives. The loss of the boats was a great calamity, for it was 
now impossible to land, though the coast was followed for some 
distance. About the middle of August the two ships seem to have 
been simultaneously in about the same locality (south-east of the 
Shumagin Islands), but they did not sight each other. Like 
Bering, Chirikof was much delayed by adverse winds and fog, 
and, water falling short, the crews suffered greatly, and their case 
was rendered worse by the appearance of scurvy, the astronomer 
De la Croyere being one of the victims to this disease when 
actually in sight of land. Avacha Bay was, however, reached 

1 This naturalist had come out with a view to taking part in Spangberg's 
second voyage, but was persuaded by Bering to change his plans. 


by the scanty remnant of the original crew on October ii, 

Bering was not so fortunate, being himself attacked by scurvy, 
while so many of his men were disabled that the ship could not be 
navigated among the many dangers of these unknown seas. The 
chief responsibility now devolved on Lieutenant Waxel, whose 
efforts were zealously seconded by the naturalist Steller. But the 
ship drifted about at the mercy of the elements, and, on reaching 
the island which has since borne Bering's name, it was almost by 
a miracle, in the enfeebled state of the crew, that it found its way 
into a sheltered basin, nearly surrounded by rocks, on November 
r5, 1741. The island, which was at first supposed to be a part of 
the mainland, was a new discovery, and the enforced stay during 
the winter of 1741-42 produced valuable additions to knowledge 
through Steller's admirable descriptions of the animal life and the 
general character of the region. The now extinct marine mammal 
known as Steller's sea-cow (Rhytina gigas) was here observed for 
the first time. The island was devoid of trees and human habita- 
tions and the only means of obtaining shelter was by enlarging 
some pits found in the sandhills and covering them with the ship's 
sails. Bering was already greatly enfeebled at the time of his 
arrival, and he died on December 19, only a month after being 
carried on shore. Many of the crew, of whom the scurvy had 
taken too firm hold to permit them to benefit by the stay, also 
died, among them the pilot Hasselberg, aged 70, and the mate 
Chitaingof. Steller alone maintained his health, and he was 
untiring in his efforts to better the condition of the men, of whom 
45 lived to see the advent of spring. They supported life on the 
flesh of various marine animals, including sea-otters, whose skins 
formed likewise a valuable commodity. During the winter the 
vessel was stranded and became a total wreck, so that the only 
means of safety left was to build a new vessel with the material 
saved from the old one. This work was successfully accomplished 
under the direction of a Cossack named Starodubzof, who had 
been employed in a subordinate capacity in ship-building at 
Okhotsk. The vessel was launched on August 21, 1742, and 
the voyage to Petropavlovsk was accomplished without mishap, 
that port being reached on September 5. Thus ended this 


unfortunate voyage, which had nevertheless done much to improve 
the knowledge of the coasts of North- West America and of their 
relation with those of Asia. With Bering's previous voyages, it 
entitles the Danish captain to a high place among the world's 

A large part of the results attained had been due, as we have 
seen, to the energy of the naturalist Steller, who unfortunately met 

The Bering Strait region, according to the map prepared for 
the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences. (Outline sketch.) 

with a fate little in accordance with his merits. Having stayed in 
Kamchatka for purposes of research, he became embroiled with 
the authorities and was called to Yakutsk to answer for his 
conduct. He made so good a defence that he was allowed 
to. start homewards, but was recalled through orders from 
St Petersburg, and died — of a fever according to Miiller— at 
Tiumen in November, 1746. Miiller and Gmelin had completed 


their researches and reached St Petersburg early in 1743, 
with which year the vast efforts put forth by the Russian 
Government to increase the knowledge of Siberia and neigh- 
bouring regions reached, for the time, its conclusion. Something 
was, however, done, largely by private individuals, to extend the 
knowledge thus gained. 

The conception current about this time of the' geography of 
this region, and particularly of the relations between Asia and 
America in the far north, is well shown by the map published by 
Miiller in 1754 (and in a revised form in 1758) under the auspices 
of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences. An outline sketch of 
this, as reproduced by the French cartographer Bellin in 1766 
(and soon afterwards by Thomas Jefferys in this country) is given 
on the opposite page. 

Russian hunters and trappers now began to push over to the 
American side of Bering Sea, and the numerous islands of the 
Aleutian Archipelago began gradually to appear, though but 
vaguely, on the charts. Among the names most deserving of 
mention in the ranks of these early pioneers are those of Nevod- 
sikof, who in 1745 first examined the Fox Islands (as the eastern 
section of the Aleutian Archipelago was then called); and Stephen 
Glottof, who, with the Andrean and Natalia, in 1762 sailed 
beyond the Fox Islands to Kadiak, of which he gave the first 
definite account. In 1764 Lieutenant Synd undertook a voyage 
to the more northern parts, near Bering Strait, but it was only 
in 1767 that he made any great advance. After visiting certain 
islands in the Bering Sea (said to lie between 61° and 62° N.) be 
reached a land which he considered to be the American con- 
tinent between 64° and 66° N., but made no effort to survey it, 
and soon afterwards began the return voyage. In 1768 and 1769 
a government expedition under Krenitzin and Levashef resumed 
the examination of the Fox Islands and coast of Alaska, on 
which last Krenitzin wintered. This brings us to the position 
of affairs at the time of Cook's third voyage, spoken of in the 
last chapter, which did more to shed a clear light on the 
geography of this region than all the voyages since Bering's time. 
By this date a Russian company had been formed for the exploita- 
tion of the fur trade on the American side, and an important step 


was taken by Shelekof, between 1783 and 1787, in the founding of 
a station on Kadiak Island, which served as a base for operations 
on the coasts beyond. Meanwhile, aroused by the brilliant results 
of Cook's voyages, other nations came forward to take part in the 
work, and the exploration of this same region was part of the 
programme of the celebrated French voyage under La P^rouse. 
From the English side, too, the work was continued by a series of 
voyages which, like the French voyage just alluded to, will be 
spoken of in the next chapter. They were to a large extent 
contemporaneous with the Russian voyages now to be mentioned, 
so that in considering these it must be remembered that the results 
achieved had in many cases been anticipated by the rival claimants 
for the profits of the fur trade. 

Almost immediately after the station on Kadiak had been 
established, an important voyage was undertaken by the pilots 
Ismaelof^ and Becharof, under the orders of the Governor-General 
at Irkhutsk. ^ Sailing from Kadiak in 1788, in the galiot called 
the Three Holy Fathers, they explored the neighbourhood of the 
Bay of Chugatsk — the Prince William Sound of Cook — and after- 
wards examined portions of the coast to the east and south-east, 
including Yakutat Bay, already visited by the English Captains 
Portlock and Dixon. The farthest point reached seems to have 
been in about 57° or 58° N., where a bay was examined which 
was probably that discovered by Portlock in the previous year, 
and since known as Portlock Bay. Scurvy now made its appear- 
ance, and the voyagers turned their vessel homewards, postponing 
further attempts at discovery. 

The only other Russian expedition to this region, undertaken 
before the close of the century, which need be mentioned here, is 
that entrusted to Captain Billings, an officer in the Russian service 
who had taken part in Cook's last voyage and who had made an 
abortive attempt to push east by sea from the mouth of the 
Kolyma in 1781. The proposal for this expedition was made by 
Dr WiUiam Coxe, the English historian of these Russian voyages, 
through the well-known naturahst Pallas. Billings had with him 
as secretary Martin Sauer, to whom we are indebted for the fullest 
account of the voyage. Nothing of great importance was effected. 

1 Met by Cook and by him called Smyloff (see p. 252). 


In 1785 the explorers started from St Petersburg and proceeded 
to Okhotsk, where two vessels — the Glory of Russia and Good 
Intent — had meanwhile been built. Billings sailed in the first of 
these in October, 1789, and after wintering at Petropavlovsk, 
started thence in May, 1790. He visited Shelekof's settlement 
in Kadiak Island, then under the charge of Delaref, and touched 
at Montague Island, Prince William Sound, and Kaye's Island, 
from the last of which he sighted Mount St Elias in the north-east 
early in August. But his stock of provisions was now failing, 
and he sailed back to Kamchatka, reaching Petropavlovsk at the 
end of October, after considerable sufferings from want of food 
and water. The Good Intent had been wrecked at the outset of 
the voyage, but as a second attempt was to be made in 1791, 
another vessel was built during the winter under the direction of 
Captain Hall, who was to command her. Billings sailed first in 
the Glory of Russia, but after reaching Unalaska early in July 
he gave up the idea of further exploration eastward, and quitted 
the ship, hoping to survey the Siberian coast during a land march 
to the Kolyma. But the veiled hostility of the Chukches frus- 
trated this design, and no results of importance were gained by a 
six months' journey, during which the party suffered much from 
cold and want. The command of the Glory of Russia had mean- 
while been taken over by Captain Sarychef, who joined Hall at 
Unalaska. The crews passed a miserable winter at Illuluk Bay, 
returning to Kamchatka in the following spring. Little had 
therefore been gained, in spite of the elaborate preparations ; the 
principal result being the observations on the countries and 
people visited, which were put down by Sauer in his narrative. 
Thus ended, for the time, the Russian enterprises for the ex- 
ploration of the American coasts opposite Eastern Siberia. 

During the latter half of the eighteenth century some attempts 
were once more made to throw light on the northern coasts and 
islands. A Yakutsk merchant, Shalaurof, made an expedition 
at his own expense in 1760-62, but though he rounded the 
Sviatoi Nos and sighted Liakhof Island, he seems neither on this 
nor on a subsequent expedition in 1766, which proved fatal to his 
whole party, to have rounded the north-eastern point of Asia. In 


1763 a sergeant, Andreief, was sent on a journey northward over 
the ice, and is said to have reached some islands, but these cannot 
be identified with certainty. Three surveyors — Leontief, Lussof, 
and Pushkaref — continued the search in 1769-71, but accom- 
plished nothing. In 1770 a beginning of exploration of the New 
Siberia Islands was made by Liakhof, whose name has since 
been attached to the most southern island of the group. He 
also discovered Maloi and Kotelnoi islands. The work was 
prosecuted by various adventurers, among them Sannikof, who in 
1805 discovered two more islands, and Hedenstrom, an exile who 
executed a partial survey of the group under government orders, 
in 1809-10. Sannikof also continued his explorations, and re- 
ported that he had seen land to the north-east from New Siberia, 
the existence of which remained still a subject of discussion nearly 
a century later. But these and subsequent journeys belong rather 
to a later period than that dealt with in the present work. 



We now resume the story of exploration in the Pacific, as 
pursued by the nations of Western Europe. The unequalled 
success attained by Cook in his three voyages drew universal 
attention to this field of research, and it was but a few years after 
his death that a new French expedition was organised to continue 
the work of the English navigator. During the war between 
Great Britain and her revolted colonies, in which France had 
intervened on the side of the latter. King Louis XVI had shown 
sufficient enlightenment and interest in scientific discovery to 
order that the French war-ships should in no way molest the 
English navigators, should they be encountered ; and when peace 
was at last concluded in 1783, he took a personal interest in the 
preparations for a French expedition, the command of which was 
entrusted to Frangois Galaup de la Pdrouse, an officer who had 
distinguished himself during the war by several successful actions 
against the British. In particular, he had been in command of 
the daring expedition to Hudson Bay in 1782, during which, 
after successfully overcoming the risks of navigation through the 
ice and fogs of that region, he had taken and destroyed the 
British posts at the south end of the bay, distinguishing himself 
no less by humanity to the vanquished than by intrepidity and 
resolution in carrying out his task. Two frigates, the Boussole 
and Astrolabe (in which names the scientific aims of the ex- 
pedition were shadowed forth, and one at least of which was 
to become particularly famous in the annals of exploration), 
were placed under his command, the captain of the Astrolabe 
being the Chevalier de Langle. The personnel included various 

H. 18 


scientific experts, among others Bernizet, Lepaute-Dagelet, De 
Lamanon, De la Martiniere, and Dufresne. Cook's last voyage 
had called attention to the work still to be done on the shores 
of the Northern Pacific, on which, during the last two decades 
of the eighteenth century, the efforts of maritinne discovery were 
largely concentrated, and this region was chosen as one of the 
special fields of activity of the French expedition. 

The ships sailed from Brest on August i, 1785, and early in 
the following year the passage round Cape Horn was effected 
without difficulty. After touching at the coast of Chile and at 
Easter Island, La Perouse steered at once for the Sandwich group, 
sighting Hawaii on May 28, 1786, and coming to anchor off Maui 
the following day. No long stay was made in the group, but after 
obtaining some refreshments, the voyagers stood over for the 
American coast, which was reached near Mount St Elias. 
Following the coast to the east with a view to finding shelter 
for the ships, La Perouse passed Cape Fairweather on July 2, 
and found a nearly land-locked bay, which received the name 
Port des Fran9ais. Its latitude was found to be 58° 37' N. and it 
was therefore situated a little south of Mount Fairweather. Some 
dealings were had with the natives, who made but a poor im- 
pression on the voyagers, nor did their country arouse much 
enthusiasm. It was on preparing to leave this bay, where some 
refreshment had been obtained, that the first misfortune, of the 
many which overtook the expedition, was experienced. Three 
boats had been sent to buoy the channels of the bay, and of 
these, two became caught by the strong current, and their 
occupants, 21 in all, were drowned. Continuing his voyage on 
August I, 1786, La Perouse traced the coast southwards, and 
came to the correct conclusion that it was fringed by an archi- 
pelago of islands, though only the outer side of these was 
examined. A fine bay was named after the Russian navigator 
Chirikof, and a group of islands after his associate, the French 
savant De la Croyere. Arriving at a projecting headland, which 
he named Cape Hector (the southern point of the group since 
known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), he partially examined 
the inlet running up behind it, which received the name Fleurieu 
Gulf. Passing and naming the Sartine and Necker Islands, he 




finally put in at Monterey Bay in California, having examined 
the greater part of the North American coast south of Mount 
St Elias. Part of his survey was a duplication of the work of the 
Russians and English about the same time, but even here it was 
of value as supplying an independent and trustworthy delineation 
of this little-known coast-line. 

The expedition made a stay of some weeks in Monterey Bay, 
and then, in November 1786, sailed for China, passing north 
of the main islands of the Sandwich group, and narrowly escaping 

Loss of the boats at the Port des Frangais. 
(From the Atlas to La Perouse's Voyage.) 

disaster on a reef which was named Basse des Fregates Frangais. 
The volcanic island of Assomption (Asuncion) in the Ladrones, 
and the Bashi islands, were afterwards sighted, and Macao 
was reached at the beginning of January, 1787. Finding no 
despatches here, the commander decided to refit in the 
Philippines, and while in the port of Manila received a visit 
from the frigate La Subtile, under De Castries, which had just 
taken part in a voyage with D'Entrecasteaux by an unusual route 
(unusual at least for the-time of year) from Batavia to Canton, east 
of the Philippines. This was the first geographical achievement 




of D'Entrecasteaux, who was destined to distinguish himself in 
the search for the ill-fated expedition now being described. Two 
officers and eight men were received from La Subtile to partly 
replace those that had been lost. 

La Perouse now began the second part of his programme 
— the examination of the coasts of North-eastern Asia between 
Japan and Kamchatka. In spite of all the Russian enterprise 

La P^rouse's routes in the seas north of Japan. 

{Outline sketch of his chart.) 

in this region, and in particular the creditable results of Spang- 
berg's voyage, a good deal remained to be done to elucidate 
its geography. It was still quite uncertain whether Sakhalin was, 
or was not, a part of the mainland, while the exact relations of 
the island of Yezo were equally obscure. Setting sail on April 9, 
1787, the ships passed Formosa and the Liu-kiu group, and 
though much impeded by fog, sighted the island of Quelpart on 


May 19, and passed through the strait between Japan and Korea, 
hugging the coast of the latter. Making a zigzag course through 
the Sea of Japan, and then sailing along the coast of Manchuria, 
the navigators were deceived by a strange optical illusion, caused 
by a thick bank of fog, which presented all the appearance of 
a mountainous coast-line to the south, seamed by ravines and 
seeming to be separated from the continent by a narrow strait. 
On June 23, the ships anchored in a bay on the coast of 
Manchuria which received the name of Ternay. On the 27th 
they proceeded along the coast and soon sighted the opposite 
coast of Sakhalin, where La Perouse entered into friendly inter- 
course with the natives and gained intelligence as to the geography 
of the surrounding region. He advanced north almost to the 
narrowest part of the strait separating Sakhalin from the main- 
land, but then found progress stopped by a submarine bank 
stretching across the channel. He therefore put into a bay on 
the side of the mainland, which he named De Castries, and on 
August 2 turned south in order to round the southern point 
of the island. This he did successfully, naming the point Cape 
Crillon. By thus passing between Sakhalin and Yezo, by the 
strait which now bears his name, La Perouse did a useful piece 
of work, showing that the two islands were entirely separated. 
With these discoveries he was for the time satisfied, and made 
his way through the Kuriles, by La Boussole Strait, to Kamchatka, 
reaching Avacha Bay on September 7. Here news from home 
at last reached the wanderers, La Pdrouse receiving intimation 
of his promotion to the rank of "Chef d'Escadre." At Petro- 
pavlovsk, M. Lesseps was left behind for the purpose of taking 
home despatches by the overland route through Siberia, a task 
which he successfully accomplished. The ships sailed south 
on September 30, and in the following December reached the 
Navigators' Islands of Bougainville, anchoring off Manua. The 
reception by the islanders was at first friendly, but an unfortunate 
occurrence marred these good relations, Captain De Langle and 
a number of his men, including the naturalist Lamanon, being 
massacred during a visit to the shore. Magnanimously refusing 
to make reprisals, the commander sailed away to the south-east, 
reaching the Friendly Islands before the end of the year, and 


making his way, by the end of January, 1788, to the coast of 
New South Wales, where he found the English busy with their 
new settlement at Port Jackson, and met with a friendly re- 
ception. He sailed away in February and no direct news of his 
expedition was ever again received. The search carried out by 
D'Entrecasteaux led to but negative results, and it was only about 
30 years later that some light was accidentally thrown on the 
closing scenes of the voyage by the English Captain Dillon. 

While touching at the island of Tucopia (north of the New 
Hebrides) in 1826, Captain Dillon found European objects among 
the natives, including a sword-hilt of French manufacture, and 
learnt that two European ships had many years before been lost 
off the coast of Manicolo or Vanikoro in the Santa Cruz group 
(sometimes considered part of the New Hebrides), and that these 
articles had been derived from the wrecks. On reaching Calcutta, 
he prevailed upon the Indian government to despatch him for 
the purpose of clearing up the mystery, and rescuing any possible 
survivors. The voyage was accomplished in spite of many diffi- 
culties, and the enquiries made at Vanikoro left no doubt that 
the ships wrecked had been the Boussole and Astrolabe. Many 
other articles, undoubtedly once belonging to their equipment, 
were obtained, and Captain Dillon learnt by careful enquiry that 
the ships had struck on the reefs on the west side of the island, 
one being lost immediately; that the crew of this ship escaped to 
the shore, but were murdered by the natives ; and that those on 
board the other, which did not break up at once, built a smaller 
vessel out of her timbers, and eventually sailed away. Even if 
the latter information was correct, there can be no doubt that 
these too ultimately perished, though their exact fate must for 
ever remain a mystery, as no further traces of the expedition have 
ever been met with^. 

While the French government had thus taken up the work 
of Captain Cook with a single eye to the enlargement of geo- 
graphical knowledge, a number of other undertakings were set 

1 An attempt has lately been made in Australia to connect a wreck found 
in 1 86 1 on the Queensland coast with the vessel built by the survivors of 
La Perouse's voyage ; but the evidence in favour of the theory seems quite 


on foot at the same time with a view to commercial profit 
through the exploitation of the fur trade on the north-west coast 
of America^ These too contributed not a little, incidentally, to a 
better knowledge of that complicated coast, with its archipelagos 
and labyrinths of channels. In 1785 a ship named the Sea Otter 
was fitted out by English merchants in China, and sailed under 
Captain Hanna, who visited Nootka or King George's Sound 
and examined various bays and islands on the neighbouring 
coast. Among the former was Fitzhugh's Sound, a little north 
of Vancouver Island, which still retains the name given it on 
this occasion. Hanna returned to the same coast in 1786, which 
year saw the arrival in these parts of three other British ex- 
peditions, each of two ships, in addition to that of La Perouse. 
One had been fitted out in England in 1785 by a body of 
merchants (among them Richard C. Etches) who obtained from 
the South Sea Company licence to trade on the coast of North- 
west America for a term of years. It was commanded by 
Captains Portlock and Dixon, both of whom had taken part 
in Cook's last voyage, and who sailed in the King George and 
Queen Charlotte respectively. In 1786, the Bengal merchants 
fitted out the Nootka and Sea Otter, commanded respectively 
by Captain Meares and Lieutenant Tipping; while those of 
Bombay despatched Captains Lowrie and Guise in the Captain 
Cook and Experiment, the commercial operations being in the 
hands of Mr James Strange. 

Portlock and Dixon made their way to Cook's River, but 
went south to winter in the Sandwich Islands without accom- 
plishing much. In the spring of 1787 they returned to the 
American coast, visiting Prince William Sound to the east of 
Cook's River. In this neighbourhood they encountered Captain 
Meares, who had wintered not far off. His crew had suffered 
severely from scurvy, and Portlock was able to render him 
some assistance, though on terms with which Meares saw Uttle 
cause to be satisfied. In May, Portlock and Dixon separated, 
both afterwards touching at various points on the coast. The 

1 It was the sea-otter, abundant at the time on this coast, which supplied 
the bulk of the skins. A drawing of it made during Cook's third voyage is 
reproduced on p. 251. 


former discovered a harbour just south of Cross Sound, to which 
he gave his own name. Here he had some intercourse with 
the natives and sent a party to explore eastward, but, on leaving, 
sailed for the Sandwich Islands and China without making 
further discoveries. Dixon did somewhat more, for after touching 
at Yakutat Bay (which he named Port Mulgrave) and other points 
on the coast, he entered the channels both to the north and to 
the south of the Queen Charlotte group of islands (to which he 
gave the name of his ship), and thus virtually proved its separation 
from the continent, though without actually traversing the whole 
intervening space. The northern end of the dividing channel 
has ever since borne his name (Dixon Entrance). The hardships 
endured by Meares and his men prevented them from making 
discoveries, while though Lowrie and Guise seem to have traced 
a considerable stretch of coast-line in 1786, they failed to make 
the results widely known. They seem however to have touched 
at the outer side of the Queen Charlotte group, and it was during 
the voyage of the Experiment that the northern entrance to the 
strait which separates Vancouver Island from the mainland 
received its name Queen Charlotte's Sound. During 1787 
another ship, the Imperial Eagle, sailed from England for North- 
west America under Captain Barclay, who examined the opening 
south of Nootka Sound which is still known after him as Barclay 
Sound. He is also said to have entered Juan de Fuca Strait, at 
the south end of Vancouver Island. 

In 1788 a number of ships again visited this coast. Captain 
Meares joined with other merchants in fitting out two vessels — 
the Felice and Iphigenia — giving the command of the latter to 
Captain Douglas, who had already had some experience on the 
west coast of America. The ships sailed from China in January, 
taking the route down the west side of the Philippines and almost 
touching the equator near the west end of New Guinea" before 
making any northing. Hence they continued the voyage inde- 
pendently, the Felice steering for Nootka, the Iphigenia for Cook's 
River and Prince William Sound. The former returned to China 
before the end of the year via the Sandwich group (some natives 
of which had been brought by Meares from China), after exploring 
the coast to the south of Nootka Sound. Here Meares examined 


both the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait, and also the mainland 
to the south of it, a high mountain on this receiving from him 
the name Mount Olympus^ A little north of 46° he noticed 
an opening where the mouth of the Columbia really is, but, failing 
to recognise its true character, gave it the name Deception Bay, 
and the point to the north that of Cape Disappointment. The 
Iphigenia carried out a larger programme, tracing the whole coast 
from Cook's River to Nootka Sound, and for the first time sailing 
through the whole length of the channel on the inner side of the 
Queen Charlotte group. After wintering at the Sandwich Islands, 
Douglas returned in 1789, and made a further examination 
of the Queen Charlotte group and the islands abreast of it, 
nearer the mainland. Some useful work was also done by 
Captain Duncan, who had arrived in the Princess Royal in 1788, 
and who laid down the results of his surveys in a chart. The 
Calvert Islands, to the north of Queen Charlotte Sound, were so 
named by him. Among other vessels engaged on this coast in 1788, 
were the Prince of Wales under Captain James Colnett (belonging, 
like the Princess Royal, to the firm of Etches and Co.), and two 
American sloops, the Washington and Columbia, under Captains 
Gray and Kendrick, of whom we shall have to say more shortly. 

The year 1789 was noteworthy for events of a political 
nature, which eventually, however, had an important bearing 
on the further exploration of this region. Mention has already 
been made of the renewal of Spanish activity on the west coast 
of North America a little before the date of Cook's last voyage, 
and the expeditions of Juan Perez, and of Heceta and Quadra, 
in 1774 and 1775. In 1779, the examination of the coast was 
continued by Don Ignacio de Arteaga (Quadra once more sailing 
as second in command), and the latitude of 61° was reached. 
Not unnaturally, therefore, the Spanish government viewed with 
jealousy the English activity at Nootka Sound, and early in 1789 
a ship of war was sent north from San Bias, under Don Esteban 
Josef Martinez, with a view to establishing Spanish sovereignty 
in that neighbourhood. Several English ships were again on the 

1 It seems to have been first observed by the Spanish commander Perez, 
in 1774. No ascent of the mountain was made till 1907, when a party from 
Seattle reached the summit for the first time. 


north-west coast, including, in addition to the Iphigenia and 
North- West America (the latter a vessel which had been built 
by Meares before his departure), the Princess Royal and Argonaut, 
which had been despatched from China by a partnership formed 
between Meares and the Etches. Don Martinez proceeded to 
carry out his instructions by high-handed action against the 
English captains, whose vessels were seized, while first Douglas 
and afterwards Colnett were put under arrest, and part at least of 
their cargoes confiscated. Meares was not the man to submit 
tamely to this treatment, and in 1790 he and his partners 
submitted a memorial to parliament, which resulted in the fitting 
out of a powerful fleet in support of a claim for redress on the 
part of the British government. Relations were very strained 
for some time, but the Spanish government eventually yielded, 
recognising the British rights at Nootka Sound, and agreeing 
to the despatch by either party of a duly accredited representative 
to carry out the formal transfer of the territory. The result was 
the famous expedition of Vancouver — -the British representative — 
which did more than all its predecessors to bring about an 
accurate knowledge of the geography of the coast in question. 

The Spaniards had meanwhile not been idle, but had en- 
deavoured in various ways to consolidate their political and 
commercial interests in the Pacific. One result of the new spirit 
of enterprise (favoured too by the peace concluded in 1783) 
was the great expedition of Alessandro Malaspina — perhaps the 
most important from a scientific point of view that ever left 
the shores of Spain — which may fittingly be spoken of here, even 
though its bearing on the dispute on the north-west coast of 
America was not very direct. Malaspina came of a noble Italian 
family, but finding scant scope for his energies in his own country, 
entered the naval service of Spain, and distinguished himself in 
several sea-fights during the war with England in 1779-83. 
After the conclusion of peace his energies found an outlet in 
schemes for the commercial development of the Spanish colonies. 
He twice sailed to the Philippines with this object, and did much 
to improve the knowledge of the hydrography of that archipelago, 
whilst on the second voyage he completed the circumnavigation 
of the globe. In 1789 — the year in which the above described 

XI] THE NORTHERN PACIFIC, 1780-1800 283 

events at Nootka took place — he was placed in command of a 
still more important expedition — one in which the furtherance 
of Spanish commerce was combined with an extensive scientific 
programme. This embraced not only careful surveys of the 
coasts to be visited, but researches into other branches of science, 
this part of the work being entrusted to a staff of experts. 
Exploration pure and simple was kept in view, in so far as 
stress was laid on the search for the long-talked-of strait, sup- 
posed to lead from the North Pacific to Hudson Bay — the idea 
of which still continued to exercise the minds of geographers. 
It was the portion of the south coast of Alaska between 58° and 
60°, and extending roughly from Yakutat Bay to Prince William 
Sound, that was thought to offer especial hopes of success in 
this connection, and the examination of this coast-line was laid 
down as one of the tasks of the expedition. Apart from this, 
attention was to be given rather to accurate surveys of previously 
known coasts than to actual discovery. 

Two ships, the Descubierta and Atrevida, were fitted out, the 
command of the second being given to Captain J. de Bustamante. 
Starting in the summer of 1789, they proceeded to the Rio de la 
Plata, which was surveyed, and thence to tlie coast of Patagonia 
and the Falklands. Both here, and throughout the voyage up the 
west coast of South America, every opportunity, both for hydro- 
graphical work and scientific observations, was seized. From 
Guayaquil the ships proceeded (October, 1790) to the Galapagos, 
and thence to Panama, both finally reaching Acapulco, after 
separating for a time in the spring of 1791. The coast survey 
was now abandoned for a time, and a course laid for Alaska in 
order to carry out the search for the strait. Yakutat Bay was 
examined and the coast followed past Mount St Elias. The great 
glaciers descending from this mountain were observed, and 
Malaspina's account of this region has been generally confirmed 
by modern investigators. The largest glacier, with which many 
of the others unite before reaching the sea, and which is perhaps 
the vastest glacier existing anywhere outside the Polar regions, has 
received the navigator's name (Malaspina glacier). Finding no 
evidence of a strait in the latitudes mentioned in his instructions, 
Malaspina sailed down the coast, touching at Nootka and 


Monterey (August and September, 1791), and once more reaching 
Acapulco during the autumn of that year. This concluded the 
work on the coast of North America, and Malaspina now crossed 
over to the Phihppines, devoting a good part of 1792 to a further 
survey of this group. Early in 1793 he cruised through the 
South-western Pacific, passing the New Hebrides and Norfolk 
Island, and touching at points on the coasts of New Zealand and 
New South Wales. From the newly-established British settle- 
ment at Port Jackson he started once more to cross the Pacific, 
and during the passage made a somewhat detailed examination of 
the Tonga group. Spain was finally reached in September, 1794, 
the whole voyage having occupied rather over four years. 

An immense amount of scientific material was brought home 
by the voyagers, but unfortunately this was never fully utilised. 
Malaspina fell a victim to political intrigues before he had done 
more than make preliminary arrangements for its publication, and, 
when at last released from a long captivity, he left Spain and 
spent the last years of his life in retirement in his native country. 
His papers were long lost, and it was not until 1885 that any 
considerable part of them was made accessible to the public, 
though a few special memoirs had been issued earlier. 

During the years occupied by Malaspina's great voyage, 
something was also done by the Spanish authorities on the west 
coast of North America to continue the work of exploration. 
Thus early in 1790 an expedition had been sent north under 
Francisco Elisa, Salvador Fidalgo, and Manuel Quimper, the last 
of whom partially explored the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the 
summer. Again, in 1791, the year in which Malaspina examined 
the Alaska coast, Elisa and others continued the examination of 
the interior waters, as well as of the outer coast of Vancouver 
Island. One other French expedition, too, visited North-west 
America about the same time, though the geographical results 
were not great. It was commanded by 6tienne Marchand, a 
captain in the merchant service, who sailed from Marseilles in 
December 1790, hoping to secure a share in the profits of the fur 
trade. His ship was named La Solide, and among his com- 
panions were Captains Masse and Chanal, whose names, like his 
own, are commemorated by discoveries made during the voyage 


across the Pacific. Making a wide circuit to the south of Cape 
Horn, Marchand steered for the Marquesas, of which only the 
southern portion, discovered by Mendana at the end of the sixteenth 
century, had hitherto been visited. After touching at the Santa 
Cristina of that navigator, he continued his voyage to the north- 
west and Ughted upon other islands in this direction, to the three 
principal of which his own name, and those of Mas'se and Chanal, 
were given^. Hence the voyage was continued to Norfolk Bay, 
on the north-west coast of America, whence the Queen Charlotte 
Islands were visited. But little of importance was effected, and 
Marchand soon decided to sail for China with the few furs which 
had been obtained. Hawaii was touched at on the way, the 
further route leading by the Mariannes and Formosa to Macao. 
Here the captain found that the sale of furs at the southern ports 
of the empire had been prohibited, and therefore returned to 
France by way of Mauritius, reaching Toulon on August 14, 1792. 
This voyage found a chronicler in the French hydrographer 
Fleurieu, and thus obtained greater notoriety than might other- 
wise have been the case. The narrative was accompanied by 
a comprehensive dissertation on the history of voyages to the 

It is now time to speak of Vancouver's voyage, to the circum- 
stances of which reference has already been made. It should be 
premised that in England, as in Spain, a belief in the existence of 
a passage connecting the Pacific with Hudson Bay still held its 
own in some quarters, and that Meares in the narrative of his 
voyages, published in 1790, endeavoured by various arguments to 
show the likelihood that the so-called Juan de Fuca Strait — into 
which, as already stated, he had himself entered some distance — 
was the portal to an inland sea or archipelago occupying a great 
part of the northern interior of the continent. In particular he 
declared that the American sloop Washington had in 1789 traced 
a considerable part of this supposed inland navigation, and even 
went so far as to show the course of the vessel on a map. 
Although this proved to be a mistake — for the Washington had 
really advanced no great distance within the strait — the views of 

^ These islands were surveyed only a year later by Lieut. Hergest (see 
p. 293), without knowledge of Marchand's voyage. 


Meares and others had an important bearing on the geographical 
side of Vancouver's task, which was carried out with a thorough- 
ness rarely equalled in the history of maritime exploration. 

Captain George Vancouver. 

Like others of the navigators of this time, Vancouver had 
served his apprenticeship to maritime discovery under Cook, to 
whose example he no doubt owed many of the qualities to which 
his success was due. Already in 1789 a new expedition for 

XI] THE NORTHERN PACIFIC, 1780-1800 287 

maritime research had been planned, but its field of action was 
to have been the south, not the north. Preparations had so far 
advanced that the commander was named, the choice falling on 
Captain Henry Roberts, likewise one of Cook's officers, with 
whom Vancouver was associated as second in command. A new 
vessel, bearing once more the honoured name of the Discovery, was 
chosen, and its equipment was being pressed forward when the 
Spanish difficulty caused the preparations to be abandoned, and 
on its eventual settlement the Discovery was assigned to Vancouver 
for the purposes of the expedition to North-West America, to 
which he was appointed. As the second ship of the expedition, 
the choice fell on the Chatham, with Lieut. W. B. Broughton as 
commander, and among the other officers of the two ships (who 
one and all proved zealous coadjutors in the survey work and 
whose names were honoured by being given to many of the 
features of the coasts of North- West America) were Lieutenants 
Zachariah Mudge, Peter Puget, Joseph Baker, James Hanson, with 
the respective Masters, Joseph Whidbey and James Johnstone. 
Vancouver received his commission on December 15, 1790, and 
at once joined the Discovery at Deptford, where he pressed for- 
ward the equipment so energetically that the ship was ready to 
proceed down the river on January 7, 1791. After some detention 
at Portsmouth, the Chatham being not yet ready, the Discovery 
proceeded to Falmouth, whence both ships finally sailed on 
April I. 

For the outward route Vancouver chose that by the Cape 
of Good Hope, whence, after stopping to complete his supplies, 
he sailed on the voyage across the Indian Ocean on August 17, 
purposing to devote what time could be spared to an examination 
of the south-west coasts of New Holland. Throughout the voyage 
observations were carried out with much assiduity for the deter- 
mination of longitude, chiefly by the method of lunar distances, 
and the rates of the chronometers were checked whenever oppor- 
tunity offered. Much stormy weather was encountered after 
leaving the Cape, and an attempted search for shoals thought to 
exist near the line of route had to be abandoned. Vancouver 
also failed to sight the islands of St Paul and Amsterdam (which 
he had been anxious to do in order to clear up a discrepancy in 


the charts as to their relative positions), though the reckoning 
showed the course to lie between the two islands. Sailing over a 
little frequented part of the ocean, he passed the position assigned 
in the charts to Lyon's land without meeting with it ; but on Sep- 
tember 24 soundings of 70 fathoms were obtained, and on the 26th 
the Australian coast was at last sighted, a conspicuous headland 
being named Cape Chatham, after the President of the Board of 
Admiralty. The coast was now explored eastwards and a spacious 
inlet was discovered to which the name King George's Sound was 
given, and of which formal possession was taken on September 29. 
The country in general presented a desolate appearance, and the 
signs of human habitation were of the most wretched description. 
Over a wide area the trees and other vegetation bore signs of the 
ravages of fire, the cause of which was difficult to account for. 
The examination was continued past Doubtful Island Bay to a 
little beyond Termination Island, in 122° 8' 30'' E., when the 
advance of the season rendered it prudent to sail for the Pacific 
without further delay. A stretch of coast extending over some 
300 nautical miles had, however, been carefully surveyed for the 
first time, though some idea of it had been obtained as far back 
as 1627 by the voyage of the Gulden Zeepaard. 

The coast of Tasmania was sighted on October 26, but the 
ships held on their course for Dusky Bay in New Zealand, where, 
in spite of some severe storms, the northern arms of the inlet, 
which had not been examined by Cook, were surveyed. The 
crews having benefited much by their stay, the voyage to Tahiti 
was resumed, the ships soon becoming separated. The Discovery 
placed on the chart for the first time the group of rocky islets 
south of New Zealand, called by Vancouver The Snares, and 
subsequently lighted on the inhabited mountainous island of 
Oparo, in 27° 36' S., 144° i' 30" W. The Chatham discovered 
Knight Island (48° 15' S., 166° 42' E.) and the Chatham group 
east of New Zealand. 

The ships eventually joined company once more at Tahiti, 
where some stay was made, and it was not until January 24, r792, 
that they left for the Sandwich group, Hawaii being sighted on 
March i. Visiting in turn Oahu, Atui and Niihau, Vancouver 
noticed considerable changes since his visit with Cook, and 


deplored especially the introduction of firearms by the fur-traders. 
Putting to sea on March 17, the voyagers sighted the coast of 
"New Albion" on April 17, in about 39° 30' N., and the real work 
of the expedition now began, the whole coast being carefully 
examined from this point northwards. Its course was generally 
straight, and sheltered inlets were searched for in vain, though 
the country behind was pleasant — often tree-clad and mountainous. 
Cape Mendocino, where the high interior country approaches the 
coast and forms a pronounced headland, was passed, and beyond 
Cape Orford (a name bestowed by Vancouver) some of the few 
inhabitants seen on this part of the coast were encountered, their 
honesty and friendliness making a favourable impression. The 
northernmost point seen by Cook was passed, and the Cape 
Disappointment of Meares was soon afterwards reached. Here- 
abouts the sea took the colour of river-water, but Vancouver was 
unfortunate in not recognising the mouth of the Columbia river 
(probably, with the exception of the Yukon, the largest river 
draining the whole Pacific slope of America), to which this dis- 
coloration was no doubt due. Before reaching the entrance to 
Juan de Fuca Strait, while abreast of the high mountain named 
Olympus by Meares, Vancouver spoke the American ship Columbia, 
of Boston, commanded by Captain Robert Gray, the same whom 
Meares supposed to have carried out an extensive inland naviga- 
tion in the Washington. It was found, however, that he had 
really advanced no great distance within the strait, so the English 
voyagers had not been forestalled in their task. Gray had, how- 
ever, seen the mouth of the Columbia, to which he subsequently 
gave the name of his ship, and his priority in this respect was to 
prove of much importance when the disputed sovereignty of this 
coast had eventually to be settled \ 

The entrance to the much talked-of strait of Juan de Fuca was 
reached on April 29, and the ships entered the passage the same 
evening. The voyagers now began a systematic survey of the 
whole complicated series of channels and inlets which are such 
a characteristic feature of this coast — -a survey hardly to be 
matched for thoroughness in the whole history of pioneer voyages. 

' The actual discoverer of the mouth of the Columbia seems to have been 
Captain Bruno de Heceta, of the Spanish expedition of 1775. 

H. ig 


Vancouver was determined to leave unexamined no portion of 
the coast-line which might conceal a possible passage towards the 
Atlantic Ocean, and owing to the intricate labyrinth of channels 
which here ran far into the land, an extraordinary extent of ground 
had to be traversed in carrying out this task. His plan was to 
find from time to time a secure anchorage for the ships, and from 
this to send out boat expeditions to trace the ramifications of the 
channels, especially on the continental side, where the passage, if 
any, would be found. Some of these parties were placed in 
charge of one or other of the officers, while the commander also 
took an active part in the work himself In the course of these 
operations abundant information was collected on the physical 
character of the country, its productions and inhabitants, and 
Vancouver's remarks as to its future possibilities are of great 
interest in view of the high degree of development it has since 

One of the first stations for the ships was Port Discovery, 
on the south side of the inlet. From this point, and from a 
subsequent station further to the south-east, the various southern 
branches of these inland fjords were examined, one and all 
proving to end more or less abruptly, after running many miles 
into the interior. The most important arm received the name, 
under which it has since become so widely known, of Puget 
Sound, after the second lieutenant of the Discovery, afterwards 
Admiral Peter Puget. The extreme beauty of the landscape — 
forests interspersed with pleasant lawns— made a great impression, 
though much of it was then an uninhabited wilderness, the former 
inhabitants having to all appearance migrated no long time before. 
The scarcity of running streams was, notwithstanding, somewhat 
remarkable, and the great depth of the channels, which pre- 
sented, like all those of this region, a typical fjord-like character, 
made it difficult to meet with good anchorages. High snowy 
mountains were seen in the interior, the most prominent being 
the fine peak to which the name Rainier was given, after a naval 
officer who eventually attained the rank of admiral. 

No passage having been found in this direction, the explorers 
gradually felt their way northwards, continuing the same tactics 
and examining the many inlets running east from the main gulf. 


which was named Gulf of Georgia in honour of the king, while 
successive portions of the mainland received the since discarded 
names of New Georgia and New Hanover. Before proceeding 
far up the strait separating Vancouver Island from the mainland 
to the east, the commander experienced some degree of mortifica- 
tion in finding that he had been preceded here by rival explorers 
— Dionisio Galiano and Gaetano Valdes — in command, respec- 
tively, of a brig and a schooner belonging to the Spanish navy. 
These vessels had been previously attached to the expedition of 
Malaspina, whose visit to North-west America in 1791 has already 
been mentioned. While he was employed at the Philippines, 
they had sailed from Acapulco on March 8, and after a stay at 
Nootka had started on June 5 to explore the inland passage. 
The means at their disposal were, however, not great, and 
Vancouver had the satisfaction of finding that they had not traced 
the inlet to its termination or junction with the ocean, so that this 
piece of work was still to be done. Cordial relations were kept 
up while the ships were in the same neighbourhood, and on 
separating the English continued their survey towards the north, 
finding the channel trending more and more westwards, while the 
country became, in their eyes, more desolate and forbidding. The 
mountains showed much bare rock — which, however, still gave 
a footing for forests of conifers — while cataracts poured down their 
sides in many places. The great mountain range continued 
to be seen occasionally, and appeared for a time to block all 
passage to the east, though to the northward it either receded 
from the sea or became lower. The suirey party which traced 
the channel through its narrowest portion, suflSciently far to render 
its junction with the ocean north of Nootka a certainty, was in 
charge of Mr Johnstone, master of the Chatham, whose name 
the strait still bears. Natives who had had dealings with the 
Europeans at Nootka were at last met with, and, in spite of the 
dangers of the navigation, which placed both ships temporarily in 
a perilous position, both in turn running on the rocks. Queen 
Charlotte Sound was safely reached, and the ocean sighted on 
August 9. Vancouver's exhaustive surveys had proved that no 
channel leading across to Hudson Bay could possibly exist in 
these latitudes. 

19 — 2 


The season was still early enough to permit of further work, 
so the voyagers turned their attention to the coast to the north, 
attempts being made, by the agency of boat parties, to trace the 
inlets running inland from Fitzhugh Sound. But having met with 
a trading vessel from Bengal, Vancouver learnt that the Daedalus 
store ship had arrived at Nootka without her commander — 
Lieutenant Hergest — who with the astronomer Mr Green and a 
seaman had been murdered at Oahu, in the Sandwich Islands'. 
Hearing also that Seiior Quadra, the Spanish commissioner, was 
awaiting his arrival, the English commander decided to defer 
further surveys to the north until the next year, and sailed for 
Nootka, where the two ships arrived on August 28, 1792. A 
friendly intercourse was soon established between Vancouver and 
Quadra, but in spite of protracted negotiations it was found im- 
possible to come to an agreement respecting the manner in which 
the terms of the treaty were to be carried out. It was therefore 
decided to refer the matter to the home governments, Vancouver 
sending his first lieutenant home with despatches, in which the 
state of affairs was explained to his superiors in England. He 
himself remained at Nootka refitting until October 12, when, with 
the Chatham and Daedalus, the Discovery sailed south for the 
coast of Cahfornia. During his stay. Lieutenant Jacinto Caamano 
had arrived from the north, where he had been surveying some of 
the channels beyond the point reached by Vancouver, though he 
had left much to be done by the latter when he returned to the 
task in 1793. 

A piece of work which the English commander hoped to 
accomplish during his southward voyage was the examination of 
the river spoken of by the American, Robert Gray (who since 
meeting with Vancouver early in the year had succeeded in 
entering its mouth), as well as of the harbour reported to exist to 
the northward of it. On reaching Cape Disappointment the 
Chatham led the way into the mouth of the Columbia, through 
the breakers which almost closed it ; but, bad weather threatening, 
it was quite impossible for the Discovery to follow. Vancouver 

^ The Daedalus had made the voyage by the Falklands and Marquesas, to 
the north-west of which latter group Lieutenant Hergest had discovered a 
small cluster of islands to which his name was given. 


therefore continued his voyage to San Francisco, while Lieutenant 
Broughton made his way for some distance up the river. Leaving 
his ship at the mouth, he proceeded with the boats, and by seven 
days' hard work against the strong current reached a point 84 
miles from the entrance, sounding the various channels, and noting 
the characteristics of the country and people, the latter proving 
very friendly. At and near the farthest point reached, a fine 
snowy mountain was seen a little south of east, and it received the 
name Mount Hood — after the distinguished sailor, Lord Hood — 
which it still bears'. The result of the exploration was to show 
that the Columbia could hardly be pronounced navigable by 
ships, and Broughton came to the conclusion that Gray had 
not advanced more than 15 miles from Cape Disappointment, 
his examination having been confined to the outer bay into which 
the river proper debouches. Mr Whidbey, now master of the 
Daedalus, had meanwhile been engaged in examining Gray's 
harbour north of the Columbia, which he found to be of Httle 
importance. The two ships now proceeded south, and the whole 
expedition was once more united at Monterey about the end of 

After staying at Monterey until the middle of January, 
Vancouver sailed for the Sandwich Islands, leaving Lieutenant 
Broughton to proceed to Europe with despatches, and giving 
the command of the Chatham to Mr Puget. A search made 
en route for islands laid down in the Spanish charts between 19° 
and 21° N., 135° and 139° W., proved their non-existence, while 
during the stay in the Sandwich group some surveys were effected. 
On March 30, 1793, the expedition sailed once more for the 
American coast, to resume the survey where it had been broken 
off the previous autumn. The intricacies of the coast made the 
task an arduous one, but it was carried out with the usual 
thoroughness, and by the close of the summer the various 
channels and inlets as far north as 56° 44' had been carefully 
examined either by Vancouver or by his officers, Messrs Whidbey 
and Johnstone in particular taking a large share in the work. The 
farthest point reached on the open ocean was that on the western 

' Mount Hood, one of the highest summits of the Cascade range, has a 
height of over 12,000 feet. 


side of the entrance to Clarence Strait, and this received the name 
Cape Decision, as up to it the extent of the possible navigation 
towards the interior of the continent had once for all been 
decided. Other names, among many, applied during this season's 
work were Chatham Sound, Portland Canal, Prince of Wales 
Archipelago, and Observatory Inlet, while some at least of the 
Spanish names bestowed the previous year by Caamano were 
retained. Such was that of the Canal de Revilla Gigedo (com- 
memorating the Viceroy of New Spain) ; and in acknowledgment 
of the help given to the expedition by his orders Van- 
couver extended the name to the large island on its northern 

While returning south, Vancouver paid special attention to 
the examination of the external coast-line, particularly that of the 
Queen Charlotte group, which, he had reason to think, had been 
erroneously shown on the published charts. After coasting along 
the precipitous western shores of this group, the ships passed its 
southern extremity. Cape St James of Dixon, and, after some 
delay from adverse weather, reached Nootka on October 5, 


At Nootka, Vancouver stayed only long enough to effect some 
necessary repairs, sailing on October 8 for the coast of California, 
which he wished to examine to the south of the part already 
visited. After touching at San Francisco, the ships proceeded 
to Monterey, where they were joined by the Daedalus, returned 
from a voyage to New Soath Wales. At Monterey their reception 
was far from cordial, so Vancouver decided to refresh once more 
at the Sandwich Islands, first> continuing his voyage along the 
American coast, which he examined as far as San Diego. While 
at the Sandwich Islands he made use of the opportunity of com- 
pleting the survey of such parts as had not already been accurately 
mapped, while friendly negotiations with Tamaahmaah, the most 
influential native chief, resulted in the declaration of a British 
Protectorate — a proceeding, however, which led to no practical 

On March 14, 1794, the Discovery and Chatham sailed for a 
third summer's work on the American coast, the plan being to 
begin the season's survey at Cook's River in the north-west and 


work down the coast to the south-east, so as to connect the new 
work with that of the previous year, which had terminated at 
Cape Decision. During the passage the Chatham fell behind, 
the Discovery reaching Cook's River first, and beginning the 
survey independently. The weather was still bitterly cold, and 
the ice and shoals in the sound added to the difficulties of the 
work. For a time Vancouver entertained the idea that the inlet 
would lead him far into the interior, but after each of the several 
arms had been examined, all alike proved to end more or less 
abruptly. During the survey, friendly intercourse was kept up 
both with the natives and with the Russians established on the 
shores of the sound, but the latter proved so ignorant of 
geography that little information of value could be obtained from 
them. Meanwhile Mr Paget, in the Chatham, had also reached 
the inlet and had been carrying out a part of the survey previously 
allotted to him, so that on the meeting of the ships the full extent 
of the sound was accurately known. In accordance with its true 
character, its name was altered from Cook's River to Cook's 
Sound. Hence the ships proceeded east to Prince William Sound, 
the shores of which were in turn surveyed by boat parties, 
Messrs Whidbey and Johnstone as usual taking a leading part 
in the work. Before leaving the neighbourhood Vancouver sent 
on the Chatham to survey the outer coast to the eastward, 
himself following a little later. 

It is unnecessary to describe in detail the surveys by which 
the rest of this intricate coast-line was accurately mapped down 
to the point at which the work had ceased in 1793. On reaching 
Port Mulgrave (Yakutat bay) Vancouver found that Puget had 
finished the examination of the coast up to and including this 
inlet, which was pronounced to be almost certainly identical 
with the bay visited by Bering, whose name Vancouver therefore 
applied to it ; the supposed bay further west, called Bering Bay 
by Cook, having proved non-existent^. During the whole voyage 
down the coast the majestic range of snowy mountains made a 
great impression on the navigators, and Vancouver correctly 

' The late Prof. G. Davidson, however, vfho closely studied the question 
of the course sailed by Bering, did not suppose that he visited Yakutat Bay. 

Section of Vancouver's General Chart of N. W. America. 


concluded that it formed a continuous barrier, precluding the 
possibility of a water-passage into the interior of the continent. 
On reaching Cross Sound, the northern entrance to the lab)'rinth 
of channels partly explored in the previous seasons, Mr Whidbey 
was once more sent on a boat expedition, which led him north to 
the head of. Lynn Canal (so named by Vancouver from his birth- 
place in Norfolk), and south almost to Cape Decision, reached in 
1793. The work was rendered arduous by cold and wet weather, 
and some of the natives also proved hostile. At the end of a 
fortnight — the period for which the party had been provisioned — 
it became imperative to return to the ship, leaving some of the 
more eastern channels to be explored later. The ships therefore 
sailed south along the outer coast as far as Cape Ommaney, 
which forms with Cape Decision the southern entrance to the 
waters lately explored, and had been examined and named a few 
years previously by Colnett. A secure harbour was found on the 
inner side of the island terminated by this cape, and hence the 
last remaining inlets were surveyed by boat parties under Whidbey 
and Johnstone. On effecting a fortunate meeting on the con- 
clusion of their work, these officers marked the successful 
termination of the task by formally proclaiming British. sovereignty 
over all the coasts and islands examined^. Their return to the 
ships, some time after the date to which the parties had been 
provisioned, relieved Vancouver of much anxiety, and the happy 
occasion was celebrated in fitting fashion by the whole of the 

The geographical work of the expedition was now accom- 
plished. With great determination and perseverance Vancouver 
had completed perhaps the most arduous survey that it had fallen 
to any navigator to undertake, and this in spite of serious ill 
health during the latter part of the voyage. He now directed 
his course to Nootka — still keeping an eye, en route, to the 
improvement of the map, whenever possible — and on arrival 
learnt of the death of his friend Quadra, and of the appointment, 
as governor, of Brigadier-General Jose' Alava, who had arrived 

^ This did not avail, however, in the sequel, to secure the more northern 
part of the coast region, now part of Alaska, for Great Britain. 


only the day before, but was still without the requisite authority 
for the settlement of the pending questions. Vancouver occupied 
the time until the middle of October in refitting the ships, 
carrying out astronomical observations to serv"e as a check on 
the recent survey, and in a visit to the chief Maquinna. He then 
determined to sail southward, and after touching at Monterey 
and one or two points off the coast of Lower California, made 
his way to Chile by the Galapagos Islands, still putting additional 
touches to his astronomical work. In May, 1795, the voyage 
was resumed, Cape Horn being rounded (at some distance) in 
stormy weather, and St Helena reached after a brief and in- 
effectual search for the supposed Ilha Grande in 45° S. At 
St Helena the day which had been gained during the eastward 
passage round the world was dropped. War was now in progress 
between Great Britain and France and Holland, and Vancouver 
was able to give some slight assistance to the expedition then 
being organised against the Cape. The Chatham, which had 
arrived late at St Helena after a trying voyage, was sent with 
despatches to the coast of Brazil and made her way home thence, 
while the Discovery sailed direct in company with a convoy, 
reaching the Shannon in safety on September 12, and the Thames 
on October 20, 1795. Only one man of her crew had died of 
disease during the i,\ years the voyage had lasted, though five 
had been lost by accident ; while the Chatham had lost not a 
single man during the same period. 

Vancouver did not long survive the completion of his im- 
portant task, but after writing the official narrative of the voyage, 
died in May, 1798, at the early age of 40, while on a visit to 
Richmond in Surrey, and was buried in Petersham Churchyard. 

One more English voyage to the Northern Pacific, which may 
be regarded as in some way an outcome of Vancouver's great 
achievement, remains to be spoken of in this chapter. It was 
carried out by Captain W. R. Broughton, who, as will be remem- 
bered, had commanded the Chatham during the early part of 
Vancouver's voyage, and had only relinquished his post in order 
to carry home his leader's despatches. Anxious to further 
distinguish himself, he applied for a new command, and was 


sent out in the Providence sloop to complete the outline of the 
North Pacific coasts by surveys on the Asiatic side, where much 
remained to be done in spite of the good work performed by 
La Pdrouse. His first lieutenant was Zachary Mudge, who had 
also been with Vancouver. The Providence, which had lately 
returned from a voyage to the West Indies under Captain Bligh 
(see p. 314, infra), was fitted out with every requisite, and sailed 
from Plymouth Sound in February, 1795, in company, at starting, 
with a convoy of merchantmen. 

After touching at Rio, Broughton decided to take the east- 
ward route via Van Diemen's Land and New Holland. He 
endeavoured, on the way, to fix the position of Gough Island 
in the South Atlantic, but was hindered by bad weather. 
Nootka Sound having been reached by way of Tahiti and the 
Sandwich Islands on March r7, 1796, intelligence was obtained 
of Vancouver's departure for England more than 15 months 
before. At length, early in August, 1796, Broughton sailed from 
the Sandwich Islands for Japan to begin the serious part of his 
task. His plan was to keep to the latitude of 28|° N., thereby 
crossing an unvisited part of the ocean, but though a look-out 
was kept for reported islands, none was discovered. After losing 
her sails in a gale, the Providence sighted Japan on September 7, 
a little south of the strait between the main island and Yezo, 
called by Broughton the Straits of Matsmai or Sangaar (Tsugaru), 
the name Insu being applied by him to Yezo. The outline and 
true character of this island was still largely a matter of con- 
jecture, though, apart from the Dutch voyage of Vries with the 
Kastrikom and Breskens in the seventeenth century, its coasts 
had been touched at various points both by La Perouse and by 
the Russian Spangberg earher in the eighteenth century. 

Crossing the entrance to the strait, Broughton examined 
Volcano Bay on its northern side, coming across natives who 
were found to be in strict subjection to the Japanese. He then 
followed the east coast of Yezo and touched at several of the 
Kuriles before turning south again, on the approach of winter, 
in about 48° 50' N. Rough weather making it impossible to pass 
through the Strait of Sangaar, he went south along the east coast 


of Japan (getting a good view of Mount Fujiyama), and after 
passing down the outer side of the Liu-kiu group, reached Macao 
on December 13, 1796. During the 22 months' absence from 
England only one man had so far been lost by sickness. 

Some time was now spent in preparing for the resumption 
of exploration towards the north in 1797, and a schooner was 
purchased and made ready to accompany the Providence. A new 
start was made in April, and after some delay Formosa was 
passed and the vessels skirted the south-west portion of the 
Liu-kiu group, keeping this time on the inner or northern side. 
Several islands had been passed when, on May 17, the Providence 
struck on a coral reef, and, the wind freshening, the situation 
quickly became so serious that it was necessary to take to the 
boats. All reached the schooner in safety, though with the loss 
of everything they possessed. The ship now became a total 
wreck and few stores could be saved, but the condition of the 
crew was alleviated somewhat by the ungrudging hospitality of 
the natives of Taipinsan Island. It was now necessary to return 
to Macao for supplies to permit a continuance of the voyage 
in the schooner. When the start was once more made the season 
was so far advanced as to give no great hopes of accomplishing 
much, and considering this and other disadvantages, the amount 
that was done was most praiseworthy. Running north along the 
outer coast of Nippon, the schooner refitted at Endermo in 
Southern Yezo, and then passed through the Strait of Sangaar 
to the town of Matsumai. Passing the western entrance to La 
Perouse Strait, Broughton coasted the island of Sakhalin to 
nearly 52° N., but, like La Perouse, turned south without 
traversing the narrowest part of the strait between it and the 
mainland, or reaching the mouth of the Amur. Returning south, 
he followed the mainland coast, with few intermissions, to the 
southern extremity of Korea, thus filling in some parts that had 
been missed by La Perouse. Few natives were seen until, after 
approaching the island of Tsusima, the schooner crossed the 
channel since known by Broughton's name to the port of Chosan 
on the Korean coast, where some intercourse was had with the 
inhabitants. After passing through a cluster of small islands 


Quelpart was visited and its coasts partially examined. Hence 
the schooner cruised westward, but was prevented by thick 
weather and adverse winds from making the coast of China or 
Korea. Broughton therefore gave up all attempt at further 
discovery and made his way once more to Macao (November 27, 
1797). He did not finally reach England till February, 1799. 

With the voyages described in this chapter, the period of 
pioneer exploration in the Northern Pacific may be said to have 



While the work of Cook had thus been actively followed up 
in the Northern Pacific, it led to no less immediate and important 
results in the southern parts of the same ocean. ^ Here, too, the 
objects in view were rather economic than purely geographical, 
but in their prosecution fresh light was incidentally shed on the 
seas and lands of that remote region. In 1786 a step destined to 
lead to the most far-reaching results was taken in the decision of 
the British government to found a penal settlement on the east 
coast of Australia ; Botany Bay, one of the points at which Cook 
and his companions had landed during the first exploration of this 
coast, being selected as its site. The command of the expedition 
equipped for this object was given to Captain Arthur Phillip, an 
officer who had seen a good deal of naval service during the late 
war with France, who sailed with a small fleet of transports and 
store-ships, supported by two armed vessels, in March, 1787. 
Among his subordinates, several of whom did useful geographical 
work in the course of their duties, were Captain John Hunter (who 
commanded the frigate Strius), Lieuts. Ball, King, and Shortland 
(the first in command of the armed tender Supply), and Captains 
Marshall and Gilbert, in charge of two of the transports. After 
touching at the Canaries, Rio, and the Cape, Governor Phillip 
went forward in the Supply, and sighted the coast of New South 
Wales on January 3, 1788, Botany Bay being reached on the iSth. 
After the whole fleet had arrived, an examination was made of the 
neighbouring inlet of Port Jackson, which was found to possess 
great advantages over Botany Bay, and was therefore chosen as 
the site of the settlement. Among the many minor indentations 



of this wonderful harbour the choice fell on one on the southern 
shore, which received the name Sydney Cove, and on which arose 
in time the city of Sydney. A thorough survey was made of the 

Governor Arthur Phillip. 

ramifications of Port Jackson, and something was done as oppor- 
tunity offered to examine the region around, though no great 
extent of country was covered by the earliest expeditions under- 
taken with this object. 


The governor soon decided to form a subsidiary settlement on 
Norfolk Island — a solitary point of land discovered by Cook in 
the ocean to the east — with a view to the cultivation of flax and 
other crops. He entrusted the founding of this settlement to 
Lieutenant Philip Gidley King, who with a party of marines and 
convicts was conveyed thither by Lieutenant Ball in the Supply. 
The latter discovered en route the small, but high and rocky, unin- 
habited island to which he gave the name of Lord Howe. It was 
examined more carefully on the return voyage. Meanwhile the 
transports had landed their stores, and preparations began to be 
made for their departure. The first to sail (May 5, 1788) was the 
Lady Fenrhyn, Captain Lever, which had on board Lieutenant 
Watts — an old officer of Cook's — to whom we owe a short account 
of the voyage. An easterly route was at first adopted, arid it led 
to the discovery, on May 31, of the small volcanic islands of Curtis 
and Macaulay of the Kermadec group (so named a year or two 
later by D'Entrecasteaux), a landing being effected on Macaulay 
— the larger — in spite of the precipitous cliffs which surround it. 
Before Tahiti could be reached scurvy had reduced the crew to 
a nearly helpless condition, but the refreshments there obtained 
soon improved matters. A friendly welcome was received from 
Cook's old friends Otoo and Oedidee, but news was obtained of 
the death of Omai. On the further voyage to Macao a low flat 
island was discovered some distance north of the Society group, 
which under the name Penrhyn still records the name of the ship. 
The Scarborough, Captain Marshall, left Port Jackson only a day 
later than the Lady Penrhyn (May 6, 1788), her destination being 
likewise Macao. After touching at Lord Howe Island, Marshall 
was joined by Captain Gilbert in the Charlotte, and most of the 
voyage was made in company. After passing Norfolk Island, and 
sighting a small rocky island (Matthew's Island) in 22° 22' S., 
170° 41' E., the voyagers traversed the little-known part of 
the Pacific occupied by the groups of small islands to which 
their names have since been attached. A number of these 
islands, which were found to rise abruptly out of a deep sea, 
were sighted and named, among them Lord Mulgrave's Islands 
towards the south end of the Marshall group. The natives were 
as a rule shy, and little intercourse was had with them. Finally, 


after passing Saypan and Tinian in the Ladrones, the ships 
reached Macao roads on September 7, 1788. 

Early in July four of the transports were got ready to return 
to England, Lieutenant John Shortland, who had sailed as agent 
for the transports, being placed in command of the Alexander, 
and entrusted with despatches for the Home government. Only 
one of the other ships — the Friendship — kept company with the 
Alexander, these two making the voyage by a new route to the 
north of New Guinea, which led to some geographical discoveries. 
The ships were ill prepared for the difficulties of the voyage, 
having no surgeon on board, nor any means of combating disease, 
which in course of time played havoc with the crews. After 
passing and naming Middleton Shoal, Shortland lighted on a 
high island with a remarkable peak, which he named Sir Charles 
Middleton's Island. Continuing to sail nearly due north, he 
sighted land on July 31, and coasted along it to the north-west. 
It was a part of San Cristobal, the most southerly of the main 
islands of the Solomon Islands, the geography of which group was 
still very imperfectly known. Shortland pursued his voyage along 
its southern border, sighting land repeatedly and beheving it to 
form one continuous island, to which he gave the name New 
Georgia — a name still retained for the central cluster of the 
southern chain of islands, which had been till then practically 
unknown, and which has been very imperfectly charted down to 
the present day. While passing along the south coast of Guadal- 
canar he had sighted the high peak, his name for which — Mount 
Lammas — is still retained, as are also those given during this 
voyage to many of the prominent headlands of the several islands. 
Shortland had failed to find the passages between the more eastern 
islands, supposing them to be merely lowlands intervening between 
the higher lands visible, although at two points he had felt some 
doubt as to the continuity of the land-mass. After passing the 
westernmost of the New Georgia group — -where friendly natives 
were met with, who called their land Simbu — he was successful in 
his endeavour to push north, making his way through the strait 
between Choiseul and Bougainville Islands already discovered by 
the French navigator Bougainville. While passing through this 
strait, to which his name is sometimes given, Shortland kept to 


the eastern side, but sighted the various small islands which block 
its western half, giving them the name Treasury Islands, though 
the largest (Alu), with its immediate satellites, is now generally 
known as Shortland. 

Misfortunes now began, scurvy making its appearance, and, in 
the absence of fresh provisions and other remedies, running its 
course unchecked. At the Pelew group a first attempt to obtain 
supplies was unsuccessful, but the commander hesitated to delay 
the voyage further, thus losing an opportunity which he had deep 
cause to regret. The crews became more and more enfeebled, 
and after the ships had narrowly escaped disaster among the reefs 
and currents between Mindanao and Borneo it was found necessary 
to evacuate and sink the Friendship. At Batavia help was obtained 
from the Dutch, but on resuming the voyage only four of the 
original crews were capable of duty. The Alexander reached the 
Cape on February 18, 1789, and Shortland found Captain Hunter 
there in the Sirius. He also learnt that the two other transports 
had made the voyage by the southern route, and had been heard of 
at Rio. England was finally reached on May 28, 1789, 

The voyages of Captain John Hunter, commander of the frigate 
Sirius, also deserve mention. On October 2, 1788, he sailed to 
the Cape for supplies by the Cape Horn route, making a vain 
search on the way for the island of Diego Ramirez, supposed to 
lie to the south-south-west of Cape Horn. Returning to Port 
Jackson in 1789 he carried out surveys of Broken Bay, Botany 
Bay, and other parts of the coast of New South Wales, also 
making a voyage to Norfolk Island, where the Sirius was unfor- 
tunately lost, early in 1790. On March 27, 1791, he sailed for 
Batavia in the Waaksamheyd transport, taking, like Shortland, 
a route to the north of New Guinea, which resulted in some few 
gains to geography. After sighting the Isle of Pines, at the south 
end of New Caledonia, and escaping with difficulty from the 
dangerous reefs in its neighbourhood, he held on a course 
calculated to take him to the east of the Solomon Islands, 
between these and the Queen Charlotte group. No trace of 
the latter could be seen, and Hunter concluded that it must lie 
further east than had been shown on the charts. On May 10, in 
8° 27' S., 163° 18' E. according to his observations, he came upon 





five small islands, well covered with trees, which he named 
Stewart's Islands, correctly judging by their position that they 
must be distinct from Carteret's Islands, though in the same 
latitude. On May 14 an archipelago of small islands was reached, 
32 being visible from the masthead. The natives had canoes with 
triangular sails. This group, along the southern side of which 
Hunter sailed, received the name of Lord Howe — an instance of 
the inconvenient way in which names were duplicated by the 
sailors of this period, the island between Australia and Norfolk 
Island having received the same name only three years before. 
It was the same group as that named Ontong Java by Tasman. 
Passing other islands, probably identical with some of those seen 
by Carteret, Shortland and others, Hunter approached New 
Ireland, and, after many difficulties caused by calms and cur- 
rents, landed at Duke of York's Island for the purpose of 
obtaining water. An attack by the natives was followed by a 
reconciliation, and after passing the Admiralty group and a 
double island to which Hunter gave the name of his chief 
(Phillip Island), the voyage was continued through the Malay 
Archipelago, Batavia being reached on September 27, 1791. 
Thence, after purchasing the Waaksamheyd from the Dutch 
authorities. Hunter continued the voyage to England, which was 
reached on April 22, 1792. 

Meanwhile, the voyage to Batavia had also been made by 
Lieutenant Ball, in the Supply; Lieutenant King, who had been 
ordered to return to England with despatches, taking passage with 
him so far. During the voyage, which was begun in April, 1790, 
Ball was able to add a few additional features to the chart. A 
shoal was found in 21° 24' S., and was named Booby Shoal, from 
the stupidity of the look-out man in taking it for the reflection of 
the setting sun, though bearing east. On May 3, when nearing 
the position in which Shortland had found land, birds and floating 
trees were seen, and on the morning of the 5th land was sighted 
stretching from north-north-west to west-north-west. It proved to 
be the eastern part of the Solomon group, and a small island at its 
extremity was named Sirius Island. The land, which was high 
and well wooded, was kept in view for several days, but at a 
distance too great to allow the several islands to be distinguished. 


Like Shortland, who had followed a parallel route on the south- 
west side of the group, Ball seems to have regarded the land seen 
as forming one continuous mass, to the north-east coast of which 
he gave the name Ball's Maiden Land. On the 19th an inhabited 
island (Tench's Island) was met with in 1° 39' S., 150° 31' E. The 
naked, copper-coloured natives were remarkably stout and healthy. 
A little later another island was reached, and it was named, at 
King's suggestion. Prince William Henry Island, after the third 
son of George III (afterwards William IV), though better known 
by Dampier's name, St Matthias. A high mountain in its centre 
received the name Mount Phillip. The voyage through the 
Archipelago led past the islands of Karkelang and Karkarolang, 
through the passage between Gilolo and Celebes and the Strait of 
Salayer, and so to Batavia. Here King secured a passage home 
in the Dutch ship Snellheid, but his experiences were far from 
pleasant, a malignant fever breaking out among the crew and 
causing many deaths. Ball sailed home by the Cape Horn route 
in November, 1791, having on board a Hve kangaroo — the first 
which any navigator had attempted to take to England. The 
voyage was more fortunate than others, being finished in a shorter 
time than any yet made by the Cape Horn route ; but it did not 
result in any new discoveries. 

These various voyages, though not individually of the first 
importance from the geographical point of view, had, in the 
aggregate, results far from insignificant. Of these, the traverse 
by Marshall and Gilbert of the hitherto almost unknown portion 
of Micronesia which now bears their names, and the additions to 
the knowledge of the Solomon group made by Shortland, were 
no doubt the most important. 

Voyages to the South Seas now followed in such quick succes- 
sion that many of them can be only briefly mentioned. Another 
project of the British government which, though of minor im- 
portance, led incidentally to the addition of various small islands 
to the map, was that of the introduction of the bread-fruit tree 
into the West Indian colonies. Three separate voyages were 
made in connection with this scheme, and they were to a large 
extent simultaneous with the Australian voyages above described. 
At the instance of various merchants and planters interested 



in the British West Indian Islands, a ship was fitted out 
during the latter half of 1787, Sir Joseph Banks warmly aiding 
with his experienced advice. It was named the Bounty, and 
placed under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh, another 
of Cook's old officers, who in course of time acquired a good deal 
of notoriety in connection with the settlement of New South 
Wales. He was an energetic and capable officer, but somewhat 
overbearing and not always happy in his relations with his 
subordinates. This first voyage for the transport of the bread- 

Captain William Bligh. 

fruit tree was notable chiefly for the mutiny among the crew, 
which frustrated its object and entailed some harrowing experi- 
ences on the commander and those who stood by him. The 
voyage was to have been made by the Cape Horn route, but the 
tempestuous weather experienced in the neighbourhood of that 
cape determined Bligh to bear away for the Cape of Good Hope, 
whence the voyage to Tahiti was completed by way of St Paul 
Island (in the Indian Ocean) and Van Diemen's Land. Beyond 


the latter the Bounty took the route to the south of New Zealand, 
lighting upon the group of islets and rocks which have since borne 
the ship's name. 

A long stay was made at Tahiti and a large number of bread- 
fruit trees were procured, after which, in accordance with Bligh's 
instructions, the Bounty sailed for Java. In the north of the 
Cook or Hervey group the island of Aitutaki was discovered, but 
though the natives were friendly no stay was made, as Bligh had 
decided to put in for refreshments at Anamuka in the Friendly 
group. It was shortly after leaving the latter island that the 
mutiny broke out, without the least warning, the ringleader being 
Fletcher Christian, one of the master's mates. Its main motive 
seems to have been the desire to enjoy a life of ease in one of the 
island paradises of the South Seas\ Bligh and 18 others (includ- 
ing the master, surgeon, gunner, boatswain, etc.) were cast adrift 
in the small ship's launch, with no firearms and but a scanty stock 
of provisions and water. In this over-laden boat, the unfortunate 
men made the long and dangerous voyage to Timor in the archi- 
pelago, suffering intensely from hunger and thirst. At Tofoa, 
the first island touched at, they narrrowly escaped disaster from 
a treacherous attack by the natives. Steering without the aid of 
a chart, they passed various islands in the Fiji group and northern 
New Hebrides, and at last made the coast of New Holland, by 
good fortune finding a passage through the Great Barrier Reef in 
about 1 3° S. A small island off the coast was named Restoration 
Island, in allusion both to the date (May 29, 1789) and to the 
encouragement offered by their progress so far on their journey. 
Some small relief in the form of oysters, boobies, etc., was 
obtained during the six days' coasting voyage which followed, 
and Torres Strait was successfully passed by the channel north 
of Prince of Wales Island. In spite of increasing weakness from 
the hardships and starvation undergone, the voyagers sighted 
Timor on June 12, 41 days after leaving Tofoa, having covered 
a distance of over 3600 miles. That this was accomplished 
without the loss of a hfe is a striking proof of Bligh's resource 
and determination. At the Dutch settlement of Kupang they 

1 The mutineers, or some of them, settled at Pitcairn Island; which is 
still peopled by their descendants. 


were received with great humanity, and Bhgh was able to purchase 
a small schooner in which the voyage to Batavia, and eventually 
to England, was successfully carried out. Several of the party 
succumbed, however, after Kupang had been reached, among 
them Mr Nelson, the botanist, who had taken part in Cook's last 
voyage, and while in the Bounty had devoted unremitting attention 
to the object of the enterprise. 

An indirect result of the same scheme as had occasioned the 
despatch of the Bounty was the voyage of the Pandora, Captain 
Edwards, in 1790-92. This was undertaken partly with a view 
to bringing the mutineers to justice, and partly for the purpose of 
effecting a survey of Endeavour Strait, between the northern point 
of Queensland and Prince of Wales Island, in the interest of 
navigation to Botany Bay. It likewise proved unfortunate, though 
some discoveries were made. Cape Horn was successfully passed, 
and after sighting Easter Island on March 4, 1791, Edwards 
discovered some small islands in the Low Archipelago, which 
were named respectively Ducie, Lord Hood, and Carysfort. The 
two latter have been identified with those known by the native 
names of Marutea and Tureia. 

After a considerable stay at Tahiti, during which some of the 
mutineers were captured, the Pandora resumed the voyage in the 
direction of Endeavour Strait, touching at other islands of the 
Society group and making a search for traces of the Bounty s men 
at Aitutaki (May 19) and the Palmerston Islands (May 22). At 
the latter the jolly-boat and her crew were lost, and all search 
proved unavailing. In his further search for the missing mutineers, 
Edwards now cruised over a considerable extent of latitude, geo- 
graphy thus benefiting by the discovery of several new islands. 
Steering at first north-west, he lighted (June 6) on one of the 
islands of the Tokelau or Union group, which he named Duke of 
York Island, though it seems to have been identical with Atafu, 
discovered by Byron in 1765. Turning south he next touched at 
Nukunono, which he named Duke of Clarence Island, and passing 
rapidly through the Samoa or Navigators' Islands made his way 
to Namuka in the Friendly group. Further cruises took the 
Pandora north, past various northern islands of this same 
archipelago, to Tutuila of the Samoan group (where the ship's 


tender unfortunately parted company and could not be found 
in spite of a careful search), and south as far as Pylstaart in 
22° 23' S. 

Resuming his voyage to the west, Edwards discovered Onooa- 
fow (Niuafu), which he named Proby's Island, and after touching 
at Wallis Island, in 13° 22' S., 176° 15' 45" W., came upon the 
hitherto undiscovered island of Rotumah, which he christened 
Granville, though the native name has since held its own. It 
was well peopled and the hills were cultivated to the top, but the 
inhabitants, who were perfectly ignorant of firearms, showed some 
inclination to hostility, and were great thieves. They are described 
as uncommonly athletic and strong. A dangerous coral reef in 
171° 52' E. received the name of the ship, while a little further to 
the north-west the islands of Fataka and Anuda were discovered, 
and named respectively Mitre and Cherry — the latter after the 
Commissioner of the Victualling Office, in gratitude for the various 
luxuries provided by him. Another island, to which the name 
Pitt was applied, seems to have been Vanikoro in the Santa Cruz 
group, the scene of the shipwreck of La Perouse, though, as no 
landing was effected, no light was thrown on this still mysterious 
catastrophe. Having reached the dangerous neighbourhood of 
Endeavour and Torres Straits, the Pandora became involved in 
the reefs, and, striking, at once began to fill rapidly. A night of 
intense anxiety was spent, and the ship went down about dawn, a 
number of the crew being drowned. The rest saved themselves 
in the boats, and, after sufferings fully equalling those of Bligh 
and his men, though somewhat less prolonged, made their way to 
Timor, where, like their predecessors, they received a warm wel- 
come from the Dutch at Kupang. On reaching Samarang in 
Java, they had the satisfaction of finding their tender, which had 
been navigated by the young officer in command, Mr Oliver. The 
sufferings of her crew had, if possible, exceeded those of the 
wrecked crew of the Pandora, and it had been necessary, in the 
absence of a passage, to beat the boat over the reefs in Torres 
Strait. Meeting with a small Dutch vessel, they were at first 
taken for the mutineers of the Bounty, and were sent under 
escort to Samarang, where their true character was satisfactorily 
established. The survivors of the expedition eventually took 


passage to Holland, via the Cape, afterwards crossing over to 
England, where three of the captured mutineers were executed. 

In 1791-92 Bligh made his way once more to the Pacific in the 
Providence sloop, accompanied by a second vessel, the Assistant. 
He succeeded in conveying a supply of bread-fruit trees to the 
West Indies, but the voyage was not important from the point of 
view of discovery. Perhaps the most noteworthy performance in 
this respect was the survey carried out on the eastern coast of 
Tasmania just two months before the first visit of the French 
navigator next to be spoken of. A MS. chart by Lieutenant 
Bond, one of Bhgh's officers, shows that a part at least of the 
enclosed waters of D'Entrecasteaux Strait was reconnoitred on 
this occasion ^ 

Simultaneously with these English enterprises, the French 
expedition under Bruni d'Entrecasteaux was busy in the Western 
Pacific, though with no political aims. As has already been 
mentioned, its main object was the search for the missing ex- 
pedition of La Pdrouse, whose mysterious disappearance had now 
given rise to serious concern for his safety. Two ships, named 
the Recherche and Esperance in reference to the objects of the 
voyage, were placed at the disposal of D'Entrecasteaux, who sailed 
from Brest on September 28, 1791. The Esptrance was com- 
manded by Huon de Kermadec — who is doubly commemorated 
in the nomenclature of the South Seas — and various scientific 
experts also took part in the voyage, among them being the 
naturalist Labillardiere, who eventually wrote a narrative of the 
voyage, and the hydrographers Rossel and Beautemps-Beaupre, 
who were concerned respectively with the publication of D'Entre- 
casteaux's own journal after his unfortunate death, and of the 
charts of the coasts visited. 

On October 13 the ships reached Santa Cruz in Tenerife, 
some of the naturalists making the ascent of the peak during 
their stay. The Cape was reached in January, 1792, and here 
information was obtained to the effect that Capt. Hunter, in his 
voyage to Batavia after the loss of the Sirius, had seen uniforms 

1 See Geographical Journal, Vol. xxxvill., igii, p. 582, with reproduction 
of Bond's chart. 


of French officers at the Admiralty Islands, north of New Guinea, 
to which group it was therefore decided to direct the ship's course. 
The voyage across the Indian Ocean commenced on February 16, 
but progress was so slow that it became evident that the proposed 
destination could not be reached by the route to the north of New 
Holland, and a course was therefore steered for Van Diemen's 
Land (the modern Tasmania). This course led the ships between 
the islands of Amsterdam and St Paul, which, as mentioned 
already, Vancouver had missed on his outward voyage in 1791 ; 
the position of the former being determined with a close approach 
to accuracy. After a passage of 64 days from the Cape the ships 
reached Van Diemen's Land on April 21, putting by mistake into 
a bay to the west of Adventure Bay, which seems to have been 
wrongly identified with the Storm Bay of Tasman^- In it an 
excellent anchorage was discovered, to which the name Port 
D'Entrecasteaux was given. Here a stay of some length was 
made, the naturalists employing the time to advantage by ex- 
cursions into the country. The enormous size of the gum trees 
{Eucalyptus) made a great impression, and specimens of the black 
swan and kangaroo were seen and some natives encountered. 
Surveys of the coasts revealed the existence of a strait leading 
east, and affording an interior passage towards Adventure Bay, 
and this was successfully navigated by the ships. It, too, received 
the name of the commander, who was also commemorated in 
the name Bruni given to the island which it separates from the 

Having once more reached the open sea, the voyagers quickly 
rounded Cape Pillar, and shaped a course for New Caledonia. 
This island was sighted on June 16. Its south-west coast had 
not been surveyed, Cook on his second voyage having confined 
his examination to the opposite side. Like Hunter in the previous 
year (see p. 306) D'Entrecasteaux and his comrades with difficulty 
surmounted the dangers of navigation among the reefs which 
fringe the coast, and which became still more formidable towards 
the north. The examination of this side of the island was 

1 In the charts accompanying the official narrative of the voyage, pub- 
lished some years later, the name Storm Bay is rightly assigned to the large 
bay east of Adventure Bay. 


nevertheless successfully carried out, its general form being thus 
laid down with fair accuracy. The chain of mountains which 
form its backbone were reckoned to extend, about 80 nautical 
leagues from south-east to north-west. Still hampered by reefs 
and sighting various small islands, the voyageis approached the 
strait between Choiseul and Bougainville of the Solomon group, 
but after passing near the Eddystone rock and Treasury Islands 
of Shortland held on a course to the south of Bougainville, which 
was now examined for the first time on this side, as was also 
the neighbouring island of Buka. Passing through St George's 
Channel between New Britain and New Ireland, and putting 
in at Carteret's Harbour, they eventually reached the Admiralty 
group, which was examined without yielding any traces of the 
missing voyagers. The natives proved friendly, though here 
as elsewhere much caution was observed by the visitors. The 
Hermit and Echiquier groups were next visited, and after sailing 
along the north coast of New Guinea, the expedition made its 
way to Amboina to replenish supplies. 

After more than a month's stay at Amboina, the productions 
of which were examined by the naturalists, D'Entrecasteaux once 
more set sail, making a circuit to the west and south so as to 
strike the coast of New Holland near its south-west point. The 
voyage along this coast was to some extent a repetition of that of 
Vancouver in 1791, but it extended farther to the east, though 
not sufficiently far to clear up the question of the separation of 
Van Diemen's Land from New Holland. The ships took refuge 
from a storm in an anchorage discovered by Legrand, whose 
name was given to it. Excursions were made on the land and 
its botany and zoology studied. The roadstead was in the 
neighbourhood of the archipelago of small islands at which the 
Dutch discoveries of Pieter Nuyts had terminated, and the 
French voyagers were surprised to find how accurately that 
navigator had determined his latitudes on this coast. During 
a visit to the mainland, one of the naturalists — Riche by 
name — lost his way and wandered almost without food for more 
than two days, the search made by his companions being almost 
abandoned as hopeless. 

In their efforts to advance eastward the voyagers were much 


hindered by easterly winds, and on January 5, 1793, the water- 
supply having fallen very low, it was decided not to attempt 
to trace the coast further, but to steer once more for the southern 
part of Van Diemen's Land. The longitude reached, according 
to the observations made, was 129° 10' east of Paris, or 131° 30' 
east of Greenwich. The strength of the current flowing west 
along the coast led D'Entrecasteaux to conjecture that a channel 
existed between Van Diemen's Land and New Holland, as 
was proved to be the case a few years later. On reaching Van 
Diemen's Land the mountains were found to be much less 
covered with snow than on the previous visit. An anchorage was 
found in a bay which received the name Bay of Rocks, and here 
the ships stayed some time, the voyagers entering into friendly 
relations with the inhabitants, who, in spite of the coolness of 
the weather, were almost entirely unclothed. An interesting 
account of their manners and customs is given by Labillardiere. 
Coal was observed to exist in the neighbouring country. On 
February 15, the ships set sail in order to pass through D'Entre- 
casteaux Strait into Adventure Bay, which latter was left on 
March i. Passing near the north end of New Zealand, D'Entre- 
casteaux steered for Tongatabu, discovering several small islands 
on the way. From the Friendly Islands, where the ships stayed 
till April, the course was due west to the northern part of New 
Caledonia. Several of the southern islands of the New Hebrides 
were sighted en route, and while passing Tanna, pillars of smoke 
were seen to issue from its volcano, illumined at night by the 
incandescent matter within the crater. 

Some stay was made at New Caledonia, and advantage was 
taken of this opportunity of making some exploration of the 
interior of the island, excursions being made into the mountains 
and a view obtained on one occasion of the sea on the opposite 
or south-western side. The natives were on the whole friendly, 
though some collisions occurred and unmistakable signs of their 
cannibalism were seen. No traces of La Perouse could be found, 
nor were the natives in possession of any of the objects presented 
by Cook, though a trace of his visit was seen in the form of the 
rusty base of an iron candlestick. Before leaving the island, the 
expedition had the misfortune to lose the Captain of the 


Esperance, Huon de Kermadec, who was buried on shore, his 
place being filled by the promotion of Lieut. Dauribeau of the 

The ships now sailed nearly north to Santa Cruz, where they 
met with some hostility on the part of the natives. On May 22, 
the Volcano Island of Carteret was sighted, but no signs of 
activity were noticed. Once more steering west, the easternmost 
of the Solomon group was soon sighted, and after coasting along 
the small group of the Three Sisters, the ships passed between 
San Cristobal and Guadalcanar, passing along the south side 
of the last-named and of New Georgia, and then steering for the 
Louisiades of Bougainville. This part of the voyage — through 
the labyrinth of islands east of the east end of New Guinea — 
was perhaps the most important of all, for this area had been but 
imperfectly known as a result of Bougainville's voyage, and many 
new islands were brought to light, the names of several of the 
officers (Rossel, Joannet, Renard, St Aignan, Trobriand) being 
still found on our maps as alternative names for islands now 
sighted, while the group of larger islands nearest to New Guinea 
bears the name of D'Entrecasteaux himself The ships were 
frequently in danger from the many reefs of those seas, but a 
passage was always found in the end. On May 25, the coast of 
New Guinea itself was made, and the deep bay which has since 
borne the name of Huon Gulf in honour of the deceased Captain 
of the Esperance was entered for the first time. It was bounded, 
especially to the north, by high mountains, terminating in the 
Cape King William of Dampier, the western portal of Dampier 
Strait. Through the eastern branch of this the French voyagers 
now passed, as had the English navigator to whom it owes its 
name. But instead of at once taking a westerly course parallel 
to the north coast of New Guinea, D'Entrecasteaux sailed east 
along the north coast of New Britain, the approximate form of 
which he was thus the first to lay down. He did not, however, 
keep near enough to the land to trace all the indentations of the 
coast, and left it uncertain whether the group of peaks lying to 
the north of the main mass were islands or portions of a peninsula 
— an uncertainty which was not cleared up until a century later. 
Having reached the north-eastern extremity of the island he 


Steered west for the archipelago, but on August 21 died after 
only two days' illness, leaving the command to Dauribeau, who, 
as already mentioned, had been lately made Captain of the 
Esp'erance. D'Entrecasteaux had shown himself an energetic and 
capable commander, and his loss was seriously felt by the 
survivors. Disease now began to spread among the crews, who 
were much weakened by it before reaching Java. On arriving 
at Surabaya in October, 1793, war was found to have broken out 
between France and Holland, and several prominent members 
of the expedition were made prisoners of war, Dauribeau having 
apparently secured favourable terms for himself at the expense 
of his companions. He died soon after his arrival at Samarang, 
and after long delays the prisoners (among whom was Labil- 
lardiere) found their way in 1795 to Mauritius, and thence, a 
year later, to France. 

Although without result as regards the search for La Perouse, 
the expedition had made some useful additions to geographical 
knowledge, and the researches of the naturalists into the little- 
known productions of the countries visited were of special value. 
Labillardiere's collections, which had been seized and taken to 
England, were restored to him through the good offices of 
Sir Joseph Banks. 

A voyage which corresponded very closely with the latter part 
of this of D'Entrecasteaux was that of Captain, afterwards Com- 
modore Sir John, Hayes of the Bombay Marine, who, obtaining 
leave of absence, persuaded some Calcutta merchants to join him 
in a venture for the purpose of bringing back nutmegs and other 
spices from the western parts of New Guinea, thus repeating the 
project of Captain Forrest, spoken of in Chapter ix. Sailing 
from Calcutta on February 6, 1793, with two ships — the Duke of 
Clarence and the Duchess — Hayes found the winds unfavourable 
for the direct voyage to New Guinea, and he therefore decided, 
after reaching Timor, to proceed first to Tasmania and thus 
approach his destination from the east after a wide circuit through 
the Western Pacific. He was on the Tasmanian coast only a 
couple of months after D'Entrecasteaux's second visit, of which 
he was completely ignorant, and his surveys there had been 
anticipated by the French Admiral as well as by Bligh. The 


further voyage also led him more or less in the tracks of D'Entre- 
casteaux. He visited New Caledonia, and ventured closer to 
land than his predecessor among the dangerous reefs which fringe 
the south-west coast. Thence he sailed north-west, and reached 
the Louisiade Archipelago, cruising in various directions among 
these islands. Here he seems to have been in advance of his 
French rival, and was the first white man to land on Rossel 
Island, which D'Entrecasteaux merely named in passing. Reach- 
ing the scene of the proposed commercial enterprise, he found 
the nutmeg and other spice-producing trees growing as he had 
expected, and he built a fort on which he hoisted the British flag, 
taking possession of the country under the name New Albion. 
He then sailed for Calcutta, but failing to obtain support, was 
obhged to abandon the scheme. The journal which he kept 
during the voyage was never published, though it still exists in 

Voyages to the Pacific had now become a matter of yearly 
occurrence, and although small islands, previously unvisited, 
continued to be brought to light, the discoveries were not of 
sufficient importance to call for a description of each separate 
voyage. A few of those to which the discovery and naming of 
such islands were due may, however, be briefly mentioned. In 
1793, Capt. James Mortlock added to the map the small group 
in the Caroline Archipelago which still bears his name. Captain 
Butler, who made several voyages between 1794 and 1803, lighted 
upon one of the islands of the Loyalty group, which had not been 
seen by Cook at the time of the discovery of New Caledonia, as 
well as one or two others in other parts of the Pacific. Captain 
Fearn (in the Hunter), and the American Captain Fanning, 
also made some new discoveries, including the small islands 
which now commemorate their names. In 1796, Captain Wilson, 
who had already had considerable experience of Pacific navi- 
gation, was sent out in the Duff on behalf of a newly-formed 
missionary society, which had chosen as its field of action 
Tahiti, the Friendly Islands, Marquesas, Sandwich Islands, and 
others. In 1797, the Duff reached Tahiti by a route south 
of Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand, afterwards making 


several cruises, in the course of which she visited the Marquesas, 
traversed the Low Archipelago, and from Tongatabu made the 
voyage to Canton through the Fiji and Caroline groups. Some 
results were gained in the way of a more precise knowledge of 
some of the islands visited, especially in the eastern part of the 
Fiji group, of which, as of the island of Tongatabu, Captain 
Wilson gave a chart in his pubhshed narrative. Although not 
entirely a new discovery, the small Duff group, to the north of 
the Santa Cruz Islands, has its name from Wilson's ship. 

By the close of the eighteenth century the general outlines 
of Pacific geography had at last been completed, the last four 
decades of the century having yielded greater results than the 
whole time which had previously elapsed since the first track 
across that ocean had been drawn by Magellan. Future work, 
in the performance of which such navigators as Liitke, D'Urville, 
Krusenstern, Wilkes, and others did useful service, consisted 
chiefly in the filling in of small details. The island continent of 
Australia was now to form the principal field for pioneering work 
in the southern hemisphere. 



I 700- 1 800 

I. The Great North-west. 

We have seen in a former chapter how, under the energetic 
leadership of men like Champlain and La Salle, the French 
adventurers in Canada had, during the seventeenth century, 
pushed steadily westward until the whole region of the Great 
Lakes, with a large stretch of country to the south, had been 
brought within their sphere of action ; Jesuit missionaries having 
likewise played no inconsiderable part in the work of exploration. 
Farther north the still earlier voyages, principally English, to 
Hudson Bay had revealed the whole outline of that interior 
sea, though practically no progress had been made towards a 
knowledge of the vast regions lying inland from its shores. We 
have now to take up the story and show how, in the course 
of the eighteenth century, the westward advance was continued 
until, in the closing years of the century, the boldest pioneers had 
succeeded in reaching the long-desired goal of the western sea. 
During the first half of the century the French still bore the 
burden of the day, the chief advance being effected in the more 
southern zone, due west from Lake Superior, towards which 
restless spirits like Greysolon, Sieur Du Lhut (or Du Luth), had 
begun to push their enterprises, even before the close of the 
seventeenth century. Some few attempts were made from the 
northern base on Hudson Bay, by agents of the Hudson Bay 
Company, but these remained more or less isolated episodes 
until, after the middle of the century, the competition of their 


southern rivals showed the company the need of more energetic 
action. With the transfer of Canada to the Enghsh as a result of 
Wolfe's victorious campaign, the French pioneers disappeared 
from the scene, and both in the north and south the work was 
carried on by men of British origin, though displaying for a 
time a still keener rivalry among themselves than had been 
maintained between the French and English at an earlier 

We must go back to the eighties of the seventeenth century 
for the first beginnings of an advance into the unknown region 
west of Lake Superior. The Kaministikwia River, which enters 
that lake on its north-west shore, and at the mouth of which 
Du Lhut had built a fort, was ascended about 1688 by Jacques de 
Noyon, who reached the " lake of the Cristinaux,'' since known 
as Rainy Lake, and wintered at the mouth of the Uchichig or 
Rainy River, which enters the lake at its western end. His 
farther route is somewhat obscure, but he seems to have gone 
by the Rainy River to the Lake of the Woods, which he knew by 
the names Lac des Assiniboiles (Assiniboines) or Lac aux lies. 
It has been held that the Lac des Cristinaux was really the 
Lake of the Woods, and the farthest lake reached, Winnipeg, 
but for this belief there hardly seem sufficient grounds. After 
this, little was done until the second decade of the next century, 
when, in 17 16, the governor De Vaudreuil and the Intendant 
Begon drew up a report suggesting steps for western discovery. 
As a result. Lieutenant Zachary de la Noue was sent in 1717 to 
establish a post on the Kaministikwia River, which he did, possibly 
also founding a post on Rainy Lake. In 17 18, a detailed memoir 
was drawn up by Father Bobe, in which various possible routes 
to the west were discussed. Although containing some judicious 
remarks, many of the ideas put forward in this memoir were quite 
the reverse. Bobe greatly under-estimated the difficulties to be 
encountered in the exploration of a route to the Western Ocean, 
which he thought could be reached with comparative ease. 
A few years later the historian Charlevoix was sent to make 
enquiries on the spot, and he also put down his conclusions in a 
report to the Government. He suggested two possible courses 
one to push west l^y way of the Upper Missouri, the other to 


establish a mission amongst the Sioux as a base for a farther 
advance. Though he was himself inclined to favour the first 
of these plans, the second was adopted, as involving a smaller 
amount of trouble and expense. With this object, an expedition 
went, in 1727, across Lake Michigan to Green Bay and by the 
Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the Missouri, but it was without 
result as regards western discovery. 

About this time, however, there came on the scene a pioneer 
worthy to be ranked with a La Salle for his whole-hearted 
devotion to the cause of discovery. This was Pierre Gaultier de 
Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, generally known to posterity by 
the last name. Born at Three Rivers in 1685, he went to Europe 
in search of a more active career than offered itself in Canada, 
and, entering the French army, fought and was wounded at the 
battle of Malplaquet. Returning to Canada, he took to the 
adventurous life of a "courreur des bois," and in 1726 we find 
him in command of the trading post of Nipigon, on the northern 
shore of Lake Superior. His thoughts were turned towards 
western discovery by the reports of an Indian chief, Ochagach 
by name, who came from Kaministikwia with accounts of a great 
water that ebbed and flowed, and which La Verendrye was 
sanguine enough to take for the Western Ocean, though if the 
report had any foundation it probably' referred to Lake Winnipeg, 
whose waters have been known to rise and fall locally under the 
influence of the wind. Fired with the ambition of making his 
way to this sea, La Verendrye went to Quebec and submitted 
a scheme for western discovery to the governor, the Marquis 
Le Beauharnois. Although personally favourable, all the support 
the governor could obtain for the would-be explorer was the grant 
of a trading monopoly, armed with which the latter succeeded in 
persuading certain merchants of Montreal to supply funds for the 
venture, and returned to his post to make preparations. 

It was in the summer of 1731, that, accompanied by his 
nephew De la Jeraeraye and three of his sons, La Verendrye 
started from Grand Portage at the mouth of the Pigeon River, 
near the west end of Lake Superior, for a first advance west- 
ward. In this year he reached Rainy Lake, and after building 
Fort St Pierre at the Rainy River exit, returned to winter at 


Kaministikwia. In June, 1732, his party was again at Fort 
St Pierre, whence the Rainy River was descended to the Lake 
of the Woods (Minitie or Ministik, meaning really "lake of 
islands "). Here, on the south-west side of the lake, another fort, 
Fort St Charles, was built. From this as a base, Jean Baptiste, 
the explorer's eldest son, descended the Winnipeg River (named 
Maurepas in honour of the French Minister) to the lake of the 
same name, being the first who is known with certainty to have 
reached its shores. La Verendrye's supplies were now exhausted, 
and he once more went down to Montreal, where he with 
difficulty persuaded the merchants to equip a new expedition. 
Returning to Fort St Charles in 1736, he found the garrison in 
straits for supplies, while his son arrived from Fort Maurepas — • 
which had been built at the mouth of the Winnipeg River — with 
the unfortunate news of the death of La Jemeraye. Another 
disaster soon followed, for his eldest son, Jean Baptiste, having 
started to meet the supplies, was attacked by Sioux and himself 
and his whole party massacred. La Verendrye's other two sons 
had, however, done some good work in the exploration of Lake 
Winnipeg, and of the Assiniboine River as far as the site of the 
future Portage la Prairie, where a new post. Fort la Reine, was 
soon to serve as a starting point for still more extended journeys. 
The future highway west of Winnipeg, followed eventually by the 
Canadian Pacific Railway, was thus already being opened up by 
slow degrees. 

The year 1737 was partly occupied by a journey to Montreal, 
and it was not until October, 1738, that La Verendrye found 
himself able to undertake further explorations, which now took a 
direction well to the south of west. He then set out, with his 
two sons and a party of Canadians and Assiniboines, for the 
country of the Mandans who dwelt on the Upper Missouri, 
within the modern state of North Dakota. Following an Indian 
trail across the prairie, the explorers reached on December 3 one 
of the Mandan villages, whose chief had met them on the way. 
The looth meridian west of Greenwich had now been crossed 
for the first time in this latitude, and considerably more than half 
the distance between Montreal and the shores of the Pacific had 
been traversed; but though some farther advance was shortly 


afterwards made by this route, it was not by it that the Western 
Ocean was first to be reached. 

The desertion of the Assiniboine interpreters prevented the 
explorers from making satisfactory enquiries of the Mandans, and 
although it was the depth of winter, La Verendrye decided to 
return to his base. His own severe illness, and the freezing 
winds encountered on the bleak and snow-covered prairie, made 
the journey one of the most trying imaginable, but by dogged 
determination the party at length reached Fort la Reine on 
February 19, 1739. The state of the leader's health put it out 
of the question for him to continue the task of exploration, which 
now devolved on his sons. In the autumn of 1739, two men, 
who had been left with the Mandans, returned with news of the 
arrival among that tribe of strange Indians who told of bearded 
white men living by the shores of the sea. La Vdrendrye at once 
sent his son Pierre to renew the attempt in that direction, but he 
was unable to procure guides at the Mandan villages, and there- 
fore returned unsuccessful. 

During the next two years nothing further was attempted, but 
in 1742 La Verendrye's two sons set out on what proved to be 
their most important expedition. Reaching the Mandan villages 
once more, they waited some time expecting the arrival of Indians 
from the country in front (spoken of as " Gens des Chevaux "), 
but being disappointed of this they set out with Mandan guides. 
Passing the Little Missouri, and noticing the many-coloured 
earths of that region, they reached the country of the " Beaux 
Hommes," who seem to have been Indians of the Crow family. 
Continuing on a south-west course they eventually reached a 
village of the " Gens de I'Arc " or Bow Indians, and joined a war- 
party proceeding westward against the dreaded " Snake " Indians. 
In the company of this party the French explorers came to the 
foot of a range of mountains with snow-clad peaks, and sides 
covered with firs and pines. Here they found a deserted camp 
of their enemies, and suspecting that its recent occupiers were 
making a raid on their own villages, the " Bows " beat a hasty 
retreat, much to the chagrin of the Frenchmen, who had hoped 
to find the ocean on the other side of the mountains. It is not 
certain how far west the La Verendryes had penetrated, some 


historians thinking that they pushed almost to the source of the 
Missouri, at the foot of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, 
others that the Bighorn Mountains, further east and south, formed 
the hmit of the adventurous journey. In any case it was only an 
isolated episode, and for a number of years no further advance in 
the same direction took place. 

The return journey was made by a somewhat different route. 
The Missouri was struck either above or below the Mandan 
villages, to which the travellers then followed its banks. They 
were once more at their starting-point at Fort St Pierre on 
July 2, 1743. 

Meanwhile some progress had also been made by a more 
northern route. Before 1738, the La Verendryes had discovered 
Lake Manitoba (called on their maps Lac des Prairies), on the 
shore of which Fort Dauphin was soon afterwards established. 
Before long one of the sons seems to have reached the 
Saskatchewan, though no particulars of the journey are known. 
Before 1749, it had been explored to the junction of the two 
main branches, while a fort (Fort Bourbon) had been built on 
its lower course, and another (Fort Paskoia) at the point since 
known as Le Pas. These several achievements mark the close of 
the exploring activity of I-,a Verendrye and his sons. A tardy 
recognition of the value of their work was forthcoming in the 
bestowal on the father of the rank of Captain, and his decoration 
with the Cross of St Louis. But though proposals for a new 
expedition were entertained and La Vdrendrye set about the 
necessary preparations, the final break-down of his health 
frustrated his hopes, and he died at the end of the same year 
(1749). With little outside help or encouragement he had 
accomplished work which entitles him to be regarded as one of 
the most meritorious of the pioneers of Western discovery in 
North America. 

After La Vdrendrye's death an act of great injustice was com- 
mitted by the new governor, La Jonquiere, who not only refused 
permission to the explorer's sons to continue their father's work, 
but made over all their posts and effects to one Jacques de St 
Pierre, who was ordered to continue the search for a way to the 
west. In 1750 he started for Fort la Reine, and sent on the 


Chevalier de Niverville to continue the exploration of the Sas- 
katchewan. The journey was made in winter; and the upper fort 
on the Saskatchewan was reached with great difficulty. In the 
spring of 175 1 De Niverville, being himself ill, sent on some of 
his men to ascend the Saskatchewan beyond the La Vdrendryes' 
farthest, and they are said to have reached a spot not far from 
the Rocky Mountains, and to have built a fort. Opinions differ 
as to whether this was on the North or the South Saskatchewan, 
but the probability seems slightly in favour of the latter. At this 
fort, which was named after La Jonquiere, accounts were given 
by the Indians of white men living on an island near the west 
coast, with whom trade was carried on, but it is doubtful whether 
these had any real foundation. 

This was the only exploring achievement effected during the 
term of office of St Pierre, who seems to have been injudicious in 
his dealings with the Indians, making them little disposed to aid 
in the task. His successor, De la Come, also did little or nothing, 
and no further progress had been made when the cession of 
Canada to Great Britain in 1763, as a result of Wolfe's victorious 
campaign, changed the whole course of future exploration in this 

Before continuing the story of the advance by this southern 
route, it will be necessary to consider briefly the progress made by 
British explorers towards a better knowledge of the interior from 
the base afforded by Hudson Bay, where, it will be remembered, 
the agents of the Hudson Bay Company had been at work since the 
sixties of the seventeenth century ; suffering, however, many checks 
from the aggressions of the French. The first half-century of the 
Company's existence was marked by practically no step forward 
from the point of view of exploration, the Company's activity being 
almost entirely confined to the shores of the bay. A single excep- 
tion is formed by the journeys of Henry Kellsey, a young man 
in the service of the Company, who associated himself with the 
Indians, and in their company ventured some distance into the 
interior, though much uncertainty exists as to the extent and 
precise direction of his travels. The most important journey 
seems to have been made in 1690-92, when he is said to have 


reached the country of the Assiniboines (whether on his own 
account or under orders from his superiors is not quite certain), 
his object being to persuade the Indians of the interior to trade. 
The probability is that he pushed north-west to the borders of the 
"Barren Lands," though some have supposed his route to have 
been rather west or south-west. An interesting fact is his meeting 
with herds of " buffalo " (properly bison). In any case he was the 
first to explore any part of the interior from the Hudson Bay 
base, though the accounts he gave were too vague to be of much 
practical value, and it was long before this small beginning of 
exploration was followed up. 

Some attempt to explore the coasts of Hudson Bay, with a 
view to finally settling the question of a sea passage to the west, 
were made in the first half of the next century, though they led to 
little more than negative results. In 17 19, Captain James Knight, 
a veteran of nearly 80, had sailed with the Albany and Discovery, 
in the hope of discovering the long talked of strait of Anian. 
But he met with disaster at Marble Island, where he wintered, 
and where the entire expedition died eventually from disease and 
starvation. Captain Scroggs made a vain search for the lost ex- 
pedition in 1721-22, and not until 1767 was its fate ascertained 
by the discovery of relics at Marble Island. While the Company 
appears to have been lukewarm in its efforts to find a passage, an 
energetic advocate of more vigorous action appeared in the person 
of Arthur Dobbs, a fierce critic of the Company's methods, who, 
in 1 741, after agitating for some years, persuaded the British 
Admiralty to fit out an expedition, which was placed under the 
command of Captain Christopher Middleton. Sailing with the 
JFurtiace and Discovery, Middleton reached Churchill in September, 
1 741, and started for the north in July, 1742. He discovered 
Roe's Welcome, Wager Bay, Repulse Bay, and Frozen Strait, but 
proved that no passage to the west led out of this part of Hudson 
Bay. He landed to the south of Cape Frigid, on an island which 
he took to be part of Southampton Island, but which has since 
proved to be separate. This voyage was valuable as bringing to_ 
light the largest previously unknown portion of the western shores 
of the bay, and so completing the work of Bylot, Foxe, and 
James, more than a century earlier. A still later voyage, carried 


out by Captain Charles Duncan in 1790, had no result of 
importance \ 

It was not until after the middle of the eighteenth century 
that the first journey of real importance into the interior west of 
Hudson Bay was made. It was carried out by Anthony Hendry, 
of whose earlier history, as in the case of so many of the successful 
adventurers of the time, little is now known. It appears that he 
had been outlawed in 1748 for smuggling, but only six years later 
we find him sufficiently trusted by the Hudson Bay Company to 
be employed as leader of the important expedition now to be 
described. In June, 1754, he left York Factory for the interior 
with a party of Indians. His route has not been ascertained with 
certainty, but in the opinion of the most competent writers it was 
probably as follows. Ascending first the Hayes, and then the 
Steel River, Hendry entered the woods, and after effecting various 
portages necessitated by rapids and shallows, reached a lake which 
he spoke of as Deer Lake, but which seems to have been that now 
known as Oxford. Hence he reached a lake which he called 
Christianaux, but which can hardly be Winnipeg, to which the 
French had previously applied that name ; the route taken being 
probably that by Cross Lake, Pine River, and Moose Lake to the 
Saskatchewan, which river Hendry was the first Englishman to set 
eyes on. He ascended it to one of the forts already established 
by the French, the officer in charge of which, though polite, was 
inclined to oppose his advance. But he did not venture to use 
force, and Hendry continued his journey to the south-west, passing 
Saskeran Lake and Carrot River. Leaving his canoe, he struck out 
across the plains — finding plenty of game, and coming in touch 
with the Assiniboines — and for the first time explored the country 
between the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan. 

Going south-west across the Pasquia hills, on August 15, 
Hendry came upon the first " buffalo." Touching first the South 
and afterwards the North Saskatchewan, he advanced over a 
pleasant country, abounding in game, and early in September met 
with a party of Indians, whom he names Archithinue, but who 
without doubt belonged to the tribe afterwards widely known as 

^ For Duncan's work on this coast in 179 1-2 see Appendix. 


the Blackfeet, with whom he was soon to form an intimate 
acquaintance. On October 1 1 he crossed a river, which seems to 
have been the Red Deer, and three days later came up with the 
main body of the Blackfeet. On November 21 he reached his 
farthest west, probably not far short of 114° W. and a little south 
of 52° N. Hendry spent the winter in the Blackfeet country, 
travelling in various directions, and pushing north as far as Devil's 
Pine Lake. On April 28, 1755, he embarked on the Red Deer 
river, and began his homeward journey. The French fort below 
the forks of the Saskatchewan was passed, as well as that visited 
the year before, and, keeping to the route followed in the outward 
journey, Hendry reached York Fort in safety on June 20, 1755, 
having performed a most creditable piece of work. 

Thus even before the British conquest of Canada, an English 
explorer had equalled, if not outdone, the French in western 
discovery, and though for a few years the latter continued their 
westward advance, it was under the new political regime that the 
great object of ambition, the attainment of the western ocean, was 
at last achieved. It was to the agents of the future North-West 
Company, the great rival of the Hudson Bay Company, that 
most of the honours subsequently fell, but some later journeys 
by agents of the older company may here be spoken of. 

The first in point of time, that of Samuel Hearne in 1770, 
covered a different field, far to the north, and before speaking of 
this another journey in the basin of the Saskatchewan, carried 
out by Matthew Cocking in 1772, must be mentioned, as it was 
in many ways a counterpart of that of Hendry. Cocking was 
" second factor " under the Hudson Bay Company at Fort York, 
and the object of the journey was " to take a view of the inland 
country, and to promote the Hudson Bay Company's interests, 
whose trade is diminishing by the Canadians yearly intercepting 
natives on their way to the settlements." (This refers to the 
activity of the British traders from Montreal, to be spoken of 
later.) Cocking started on June 27, 1772, and, ascending the 
Hayes River, made his way by various other rivers and portages, 
including part of the Nelson River, to the lower Saskatchewan ; his 
route probably differing somewhat, though to no great extent, from 
that of Hendry. From a point near the French Fort a la Come 


he went south-west, again by a different route from Hendry's, 
into the country between the north and south branches of the 
Saskatchewan. His farthest was by no means so remote as 
Hendry's, for he seems to have turned before reaching iio° W., 
making his way back to Fort k la Come by a route somewhat to 
the north of his outward one. He added considerably to the 
knowledge of the country within the two branches of the Sas- 
katchewan (which he found already being overrun by rival traders 
from Canada) and saw a good deal of the Blackfeet Indians, of 
whom he has much to tell in his journal. But he can hardly rank 
among the great explorers of Canada, either French or English. 

Samuel Hearne, the explorer of the north referred to in the 
last paragraph, was perhaps the most meritorious, as he is the best 
known, of all the agents of the Hudson Bay Company who 
devoted themselves to the task of exploration before the amalga- 
mation of that company with its great rival, the North-West 
Company, in the early part of the nineteenth century. Again we 
have to be content with somewhat meagre details regarding his 
earlier career, and we only know that, having been left an orphan 
at an early age, he entered the navy as a midshipman under the 
future Lord Hood, but after a few years left the service and 
obtained employment under the Hudson Bay Company, serving 
, as mate in a schooner trading with the Eskimo on the shores of 
' the bay. It is in 1769 that he first comes on the scene as an 
/ explorer, being then commissioned to go north-west in search of 
a river spoken of by the natives as flowing through a country 
abounding in copper ore, while he was also instructed to aim at a 
solution of the question of a passage westward out of Hudson 
Bay. Attempts in the same direction may possibly have been 
made before, for we know that tales of rich copper mines had 
engaged the attention of the Company's officers for some time, 
and the Indians of the north-west are said to have been visited 
before Hearne's time, both by Richard and by Moses Norton, 
the latter of whom, as governor of Fort Prince of Wales, near the 
mouth of the Churchill, was largely instrumental in sending 
Hearne on his present quest. 

The explorer started on his first journey on November 6, 1769, 
with two Englishmen and a party of Indians, but before long the 


latter began to give trouble, and eventually deserted, so that 
Hearne was forced to return. He soon set out again (February 23, 
1770), this time with five Indians only, going west up Seal River to 
Lake Shethani, where he waited till the rigour of winter should 
be past. Starting again, he turned north, and on June 30 reached 
the Kathawachaga or Kazan river, at a spot which he placed in 
63° 4' N., but which seems to have really been more than a degree 
further south. By the end of July he seems to have reached the 
north end of Dubawnt Lake, but, having the misfortune to break 
his quadrant on August 11, decided to return. Travelling by 
a somewhat different route, he once more reached Fort Prince of 

The Great Slave Lake in Winter. 
(From Hearne's yiiK^^ey to the Northern Ocean.) 

Wales on November 25, the journey having been a failure as 
regards its main objects, though a certain amount of new ground 
had been covered. 

During the return march Hearne had been joined by an Indian 
chief, Matonabi, who gave as one cause of his failure the omission 
to take the wives of the Indians to help with the transport, etc. 
It was therefore arranged that this chief and his followers, with 
their women, should accompany the explorer on a third venture, 
and a renewed start was made on December 7, 1770. A more 
southerly route than had been followed earlier in the year brought 


the explorer to Nueltin or Bland Lake on December 31, and on 
February 6, 1771, the Kazan was once more crossed. In May 
the party was joined by a band of Chipewyans, bent on attacking 
the Eskimo of the country to the north, and the rate of progress 
was increased by leaving behind the women and the heavier 
baggage. Journeying north, and crossing the Arctic circle, the 
party encountered the Copper Indians towards the end of June, 
and reached the Coppermine river on July 13, pushing on to its 
mouth on the i8th, after a heartless massacre of the. Eskimo had 
been perpetrated — without Hearne's connivance — by the Indian 
allies. The Arctic Ocean had for the first time been reached in 
this quarter of the globe. 

The position assigned by Hearne to the mouth of the river 
(nearly 72° N.)is something like 4° too far north, and his mapping 
generally seems to have been loose and inaccurate, but he had 
performed a notable exploit in traversing so great an extent of 
hitherto unknown country, some of which has hardly been visited 
since his time. His examination of the copper deposits, however, 
proved very disappointing. 

On the return march Hearne adopted a new route, to the west 
of south, which led him through more new country and resulted 
in the discovery (December 24, 1771) of one of the great lakes of 
the Canadian North-West. It is spoken of by him as the Great 
Athapuscow, and has therefore naturally been identified with Lake 
Athabasca, though from the general direction of Hearne's route it 
is practically certain that it was really the Great Slave Lake. 
After crossing the lake — to which he assigns the fairly correct 
length of t2o leagues — he ascended the river which enters it from 
the south for 40 leagues, and then went east, through a country 
still little known, to the Kazan, and so to Fort Prince of Wales. 

It is on this adventurous journey that Hearne's fame mainly 
rests, but he continued for some time to take an active part in the 
affairs of the company. Two years later, being sent to form a 
post inland, he chose a site on Cumberland Lake, just north of the 
lower Saskatchewan, and there built Cumberland House, long 
important as a rendezvous of the fur traders. In 1775 he was 
governor of Fort Prince of Wales, and was in command of this 
at the time of the hostile descent of La Pdrouse in 1782 (see 


Chapter xi), when, being quite unprepared for resistance, he 
submitted to the unpleasant necessity of surrendering both the 
fort and its contents to the French commander. La Perouse 
courteously allowed him to keep the journals of his northern 
journeys, urging him to publish them, which he did after some 

From this time onward exploration from the side of Hudson 
Bay is so interwoven with that from Canada — the two series 
overlapping both in time and place — that it is not always easy 
to determine to which side the priority in any particular dis- 
covery belongs. After Hearne's journey, the northern company 
was content to rest on its laurels for some years, while the keen 
British traders who had succeeded to the heritage of the French 
in Canada pushed not only west, but north, into the field already 
to some extent exploited by their rivals. It will therefore be 
necessary, the better to preserve chronological sequence, to speak 
of the doings of these southerners during the decades immediately 
following the English conquest of Canada. 

Before anything had yet been achieved by the Canadian 
traders, an ambitious scheme of exploration had been proposed to 
himself by an outsider, one Jonathan Carver, of Connecticut, 
whose idea was to push west to the Pacific from the Upper 
Mississippi. He started in 1766, and, according to his own 
statement, ascended the St Pierre (Minnesota) river to the 
country of the Sioux ; but, finding it impossible to advance farther, 
returned to the Mississippi and thence to Lake Superior, hoping 
to make his way westward from that base. Unable to obtain 
supplies, he abandoned the attempt and returned to Boston 
(October, 1768). He published a volume of travels, illustrated 
by a map — neither entirely trustworthy — and he cannot be said to 
have made any important contribution to geographical knowledge. 

Among the first British traders to push west from Canada into 
the region of the Saskatchewan were, according to the scanty indi- 
cations we possess, James Finlay and Thomas Curry, who were 
already in the country when Matthew Cocking, the agent of the 
Hudson Bay Company, made the journey already spoken of. 
Other traders were Peter Pond, a native of Connecticut, who 
seems to have entered this country in 1768, and Thomas and 


Joseph Frobisher, the last of whom pushed north to the Churchill 
in 1774. After them came Alexander Henry (the elder of that 
name), who in 1775 reached Cumberland House, the post built 
by Heatne in 1774, byway of Grand Portage, Lake of the Woods, 
and Lake Winnipeg. He was accompanied during the latter part 
of the way by Pond and the Frobishers. Further journeys in 
various directions were made by these men, either independently 
or in company. In 1776, Henry and the Frobishers went by 
Frog Portage to the Churchill and tie a la Crosse Lake, in the 
country of the Chipewyans, from whom Henry obtained some 
information regarding the geography of the country, being told of 
Lake Athabasca, Slave River and Lake, the Peace River, and the 
Rocky Mountains. A fort — destined to be of great importance — 
was soon afterwards built by Thomas Frobisher on lie a la Crosse 

In 1778, Pond started on a more extended journey, which 
resulted in the exploration of a good deal of new country. Having 
reached Lake lie a la Crosse, he continued his route north-west to 
Lakes Clear, Buffalo, and La Loche, and across the " Height of 
Land " (as the water-parting was called) to the Clearwater river. 
The portage across the divide, known as Portage La Loche or 
Methye portage, was soon to become the universally frequented 
route from the Saskatchewan to Lake Athabasca and the region 
beyond. By the Clearwater he descended to the Athabasca, and, 
at a point not far from its entry into the lake of the same name, 
built a fort, in which he and his men spent the winter. Hence, 
in course of time, he made his way to Lake Athabasca and 
possibly as far as the Peace River, though much uncertainty has 
hitherto prevailed as to his exact movements ^ 

It was about this time, namely in the winter of 1783-84, that 
the various Montreal merchants, chief among whom was Simon 
McTavish, decided to unite their forces and form a trading 
company, which received the name of the " North- West Company." 
Pond and some others, however, held aloof, forming themselves 
into a rival association, the most energetic member of which was 
Alexander Mackenzie, a young Scotsman destined to become the 

1 Pond's journals have lately been brought to light and printed in America. 


most famous of all the adventurers in the far north-west. His 
cousin, Roderick Mackenzie, was another partner, and likewise 
played an important part in western enterprise. After three years 
of rivalry the two bodies united in 1787, though dissensions arose 
later and led once more to disruption. 

Pond — who, after leading the opposition for a time, seems to 
have soon gone over to the North-West Company — continued to 

Alexander Mackenzie. 

(From the engraving after Lawrence in his Voyages through the Continent 

of North America. ) 

be active in its behalf until 1788, when he retired, returning to 
New England in 1790. He was of a somewhat intractable dis- 
position, and was implicated in more than one affray which 
resulted in the death of a fellow-trader. He was the author of 
several maps, in which his explorations were laid down, but, as he 


was not an expert in surveying, his representation of the geography 
is far from accurate as regards the positions assigned to the 
various features. Lake Athabasca, for example, is placed far too 
near the shores of the Pacific. 

Alexander Mackenzie, who in 1785 had taken charge of the 
Churchill River district on behalf of his partners, soon began to 
look farther afield, and to make plans for an expedition to the 
shores of the Arctic Ocean. His cousin Roderick having, in 1788, 
founded Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca for the purpose of 
trade with the Chipewyan Indians, he proceeded thither and set 
about the preparations for his proposed journey, which was to take 
him north by way of the Great Slave Lake, to which region traders 
had already begun to penetrate. One of the first to make his way 
thither after Hearne's discovery of the lake in 1772 was Laurent 
Leroux, who was now to accompany Mackenzie thus far on his 
journey and build a fort on the lake shore. The party, which 
included also a German named Stein briick and several Canadian 
voyageurs and Indians, left Fort Chipewyan on June 3, 1789, and 
soon entered the Slave River at the western end of Athabasca. 
Passing the mouth of the stroiigly-flowing Peace River, they 
descended the broad stream, making portages past its dangerous 
rapids to the Great Slave Lake, beyond which all was virtually 
unknown ground. The weather was still very severe and the lake 
in great part still covered with ice, so that the crossing was only 
with difficulty effected, halts being several times necessary at islands 
on the route. Approaching the northern shore, and coasting to 
the westward, the voyagers proceeded up the North Arm of the 
Great Slave Lake, where they met a number of Red Knife 
or Copper Indians, with whom trade was opened. On June 25 
Mackenzie once more started onwards, leaving Leroux to establish 
a post among the Copper Indians,- while he returned down the 
western side of the north arm to the main body of the lake. After 
some days spent in coasting to the south-west, the wished-for 
outlet of the lake was at last reached. This river, to which 
Mackenzie's own name has fitti^igly been given, gradually narrowed, 
while its current increased in rapidity. The Horn Mountains, on 
the right bank, and the mouth of the Liard River, on the left, were 
passed in succession. Indians were seen, but most of them fled 


at the voyagers' approach, while others, by magnifying the dangers 
ahead, terrified Mackenzie's Indians, and much firmness was 
needed to prevent their deserting. On July 3, mountains were 
seen near the left bank, and Mackenzie ascended a hill which rose 
almost perpendicularly from the river, gaining an extensive view. 

Warm weather now gave place to great cold, but the explorer 
pushed on with great determination, passing the mouth of the 
clear-flowing Great Bear River (coming from Great Bear Lake), 
and occasionally meeting Indians, who still preserved a shy and 
suspicious attitude. After passing the rapids since known as 
Sans Sault, which presented but trifling difficulties, the voyagers 
entered the narrow defile in which the river passes for some 
distance between perpendicular hmestone cliffs, nov/ known as the 
Ramparts. Beyond these, on entering the lowland which borders 
the Arctic coast of the continent, the river widened out and split 
into many different channels. From a new tribe of Indians now 
met with, intelligence of the Arctic Ocean was at last obtained. 
Supplies were by this time almost exhausted, but though his 
Indians became discontented at the continuance of the voyage, 
Mackenzie was determined to persevere. At last, on July 12, 
having passed the 69th parallel of north latitude, his little flotilla 
reached a point where the river widened out into a lake-like 
expanse, across which it proceeded to a high island, whence a 
wide view was obtained. This was evidently at the mouth of the 
river, and the object for which the leader had been striving had 
thus been attained, but he seems to have been hardly convinced 
that he had really reached the ocean. An observation taken on 
the 13th gave the latitude as 69° 14' N. Numbers of small whales 
were seen, and the island on which the party had landed was 
named Whale Island. On it a post was erected with a record of 
the visit, and, a search for Eskimos among the neighbouring 
islands having proved fruitless, on July 16 Mackenzie reluctantly 
began his return voyage. He had traced the great river which 
bears his name for a distance, by the windings of its course, 
of over 1000 miles from its exit from Great Slave Lake. 

The re-ascent of the Mackenzie, above the apex of its delta, 
involved severe labour owing to the strength of the current. From 
the inhabitants of an Indian village Mackenzie heard some vague 


accounts of the sea to the west, and of visits to it by white 
men (probably the fur-traders on the coast of Alaska), as also of 
a great river which seems to have been the Yukon. A little above 
Bear River the right bank of the Mackenzie was noticed to be 
burning, as it has by more recent explorers, this being due to 
the seams of lignite which there crop out. On reaching Great 
Slave Lake, August 22, Leroux was met, returning with Indians 
from a hunting expedition, and at his house Mackenzie dismissed 
his Indians. He was once more back at Fort Chipewyan on 
September 12, having been absent on his expedition some three 
months and a half. 

This journey, important as it was from a geographical point of 
view, seems to have attracted but little notice at the time, but 
Mackenzie's exploring ardour was not thus to be checked. For 
a time he was content to wait, quietly maturing his plans for 
a new venture, and in 1791-2 paid a visit to England for the 
purpose of procuring instruments, and otherwise qualifying himself 
for the task before him. This time his plan was to ascend the 
Peace River (the main feeder of the Mackenzie, which it joins 
shortly after the latter's exit from Lake Athabasca) towards the 
Rocky Mountains, and push west across these until the Western 
Ocean should be gained. Having made his final preparations at 
Fort Chipewyan, he left that post in October 1792, and pro- 
ceeded by canoe across the western end of Lake Athabasca, and 
by its emissary to the Peace River. Pushing rapidly up this, as 
winter was now approaching, he passed the highest posts pre- 
viously established on its course, and, after reaching the mouth 
of the Smoky River, decided to go into quarters for the winter. 
A fort was built at a point between 17° and r8° W., and here he 
and his men stopped until the spring was advanced enough to 
permit the continuance of the journey. During the stay Mackenzie 
was visited by Indians who told him of the lake (belonging to the 
basin of the Athabasca River) now known as the Lesser Slave 
Lake, and also of a river flowing west beyond the mountains. 
Having secured the services of two Indians as guides, Mackenzie 
set out in a newly-built canoe on May 9, 1793, accompanied, 
in addition to the Indians, by Alexander Mackay and six French 
Canadians. Continuing to ascend the Peace, through hitherto 


unexplored country abounding in game and displaying much 
beautiful scenery, the explorers found the river constantly broken 
by rapids during its passage through the Rocky Mountains, and 
only with great difficulty was the advance carried out, the canoe 
being often within an ace of destruction in the foaming waters. 

Western part of Mackenzie's Map, showing his routes. 
(Outline sketch.) 

First Expedition 

Second Expedition .-.-.-.-.-. 

The men grew discontented, and urged a return, but Mackenzie 
would listen to no such proposal, but decided to cut a road 
through the bush on the mountain side so as to transport the 
canoe and goods to the smoother water above the gorge. This 


was accomplished by heroic efforts, and they at length reached 
the point of junction of the two upper branches of the Peace, 
since known as the Parsnip and the Finlay — the latter named 
after its first explorer some years later. 

Somewhat against his own inchnation, Mackenzie decided to 
follow the advice of the Indians and ascend the southern branch — 
the Parsnip. This river was in flood and its violent current could 
only be stemmed by immense exertion. Meeting at last with 
Indians who had never before seen a white man, Mackenzie 
obtained somewhat vague reports of the westward-flowing river 
of which he was in search. He soon afterwards reached the source 
of the Parsnip, and had thus in his two journeys followed the 
whole course of the Mackenzie, from the source of one of its 
principal head-streams to its mouth in the Arctic Ocean. Dragging 
the canoe across the continental divide, Mackenzie was the first 
white man to reach, by an overland route, a stream flowing west 
to the Pacific in the northern half of North America. It was a 
rapid mountain river, a tributary of the important stream after- 
wards known as the Fraser, from its explorer a few years later. 
Its descent nearly led to irretrievable disaster, the canoe being 
almost dashed to pieces on the rocks of a cataract. The men 
were ready to mutiny, but once more the leader, by sheer force of 
character, prevailed on them to go on, and at length, after incre- 
dible difficulties, the more easily navigable waters of the Fraser 
— thought by Mackenzie to be identical with the Columbia of 
Pacific navigators — were gained. The explorers' struggles were 
still not over, for rapids again necessitated a portage, and on 
meeting with Indians it was only by the exercise of the utmost 
patience and tact that they could be induced to lay aside their 
suspicions and open a friendly intercourse. 

The accounts now received of the difficult navigation of the 
Fraser, and the report of an easier route west across the mountains, 
decided Mackenzie to abandon the attempt to trace the river 
seawards. To find the Indian trail it was necessary to re-ascend 
it some distance, and to build a new canoe. Meanwhile the 
Indians again proved suspicious, and it was with great diflSculty 
that a guide could be induced to accompany the party. The 
march was begun on July 4, the men being heavily laden, while 


short rations and the inclemency of the weather added to their 
troubles. They were cheered, however, by reports of the sea and 
of white men frequenting the coast. The travellers ascended the 
valley of the Blackwater, a right-bank tributary of the Fraser, and 
after crossing a secondary divide, came upon a friendly tribe of 
coast Indians, dwelHng on the banks of the Bella Coola River. 
From them canoes were obtained, and the descent of 'the Bella 
Coola was continued until, on July 20, its mouth was reached, 
and the western coast — the object of so many ardent aspirations — 
was thus at last gained. The point at which it was struck had 
been visited a little time before by Vancouver, and .the surveys of 
explorers from east and west were thus for the first time linked 

The Indians here proved unfriendly, so, after fixing his position 
as about 52° 21' north latitude, and painting on a rock the simple 
but pregnant inscription, " Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, 
by land, the twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred 
and ninety-three," the traveller at once began his homeward 
journey. The Indians on the Bella Coola caused some trouble, 
but were overawed by Mackenzie's resolute attitude, and the 
march was continued with all speed, the supplies being by this 
time nearly exhausted. By August 14 the party had already 
reached the Fraser, and by the 17th, the Parsnip. The descent 
of the latter and of the Peace was effected at a very different rate 
of progress from that maintained during their toilsome ascent, and 
on August 24 the fort on the Peace River was gained and the toils 
and dangers of the expedition were at an end. The return from 
the Pacific had occupied little more than a month. 

This second expedition of Mackenzie was one of the most 
important ever carried out in this part of North America, and its 
ultimate results were of a far-reaching character. The determina- 
tion with which he overcame the most serious obstacles places 
him in the front rank of pioneer explorers. After he had thus 
shown the way to the Western Ocean, others soon followed in his 
footsteps, and it was not long before the general features of the 
Rocky Mountain zone and Pacific slope in the modern province 
of British Columbia were disclosed to the world. But the story 
of the future exploration of this region — associated above all with 


the names of David Thompson, Alexander Henry the younger, 
and Simon Fraser — belongs almost entirely to the next century 
and thus lies outside the limits of our period. 

A new period of exploration in the far west was ushered in by 
Mackenzie's epoch-making journey, but a good deal remained to 
.be done before even the pioneer work in the region east of the 
mountains could be said to be finished. At the period at which 
we have now arrived some tardy steps were taken by the Hudson 
Bay Company to do its share in the exploration of the western 
interior. At the instance of the Colonial Office in London, the 
Company conimissioned a surveyor, Philip Turner by name, who 
had been for some time in its service, to explore the country 
between Cumberland House and the Great Slave Lake. He 
travelled over this country in 1790-92, and the resulting map 
gave for the first time an approximately correct representation of 
Lake Athabasca, with the river system of the southern part of the 
Mackenzie basin, while other details were filled in from informa- 
tion collected. He was succeeded by Peter Fidler, who seems to 
have assisted him in a part of his work, and who executed 
important surveys for the Company, though the full details of 
his explorations — which appear to have begun in 1792 — are not 
now known. From the map which he constructed, and a few 
other indications, it appears that his journeys covered a very wide 
area, both in the basin of the Saskatchewan and, further north, in 
those of the Mackenzie, Churchill, and other rivers emptying 
themselves into Hudson Bay. In the west they extended to the 
Lesser Slave Lake and the lower course of the Peace River, and 
in the east they resulted in the first map of the lower Churchill, 
and in an improved representation of various other rivers and 
lakes between Athabasca and the shores of Hudson Bay. Fidler 
continued his labours till well into the next century, and though 
a good deal of the ground covered was not entirely new, his 
surveys were a valuable contribution to the knowledge of the 
geography of this region. 

During the same period, equally extensive journeys, in part 
over the same field, were made by David Thompson, one of the 
most active and determined explorers produced either by the 
Hudson Bay Company or its great rival. Few, in fact, of the 


world's explorers by land have covered such a great extent 
of unknown or imperfectly-known country, or continued their 
activity through so long a period as did David Thompson. The 
first part of his career was spent in the service of the Hudson 
Bay Company, and though much of his time was necessarily given 
up to trading and the founding of stations, he showed throughout 
the greatest zeal in laying down his routes, and in fixing his 
positions by astronomical observations. In 1797, after his 
wanderings had taken him over the length and breadth of the 
region between Hudson Bay and the Rocky Mountains, he left 
the Hudson Bay Company's service, in which his passion for 
exploration no longer found sufficient scope, and joined the 
North-West Company, which was more ready to encourage such 
enterprise as Thompson had at heart. In its service a wide field 
for exploration opened before him in the almost unknown wilder- 
nesses stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, but, 
as has been said above, this part of the history falls within the 
nineteenth century and cannot be dealt with here. 

By the close of the eighteenth century the broad outlines of 
the geography of the vast region between Hudson Bay, the Great 
Lakes, the Arctic Ocean, and the Rocky Mountains had thus been 
sketched in, while the pioneer journey of Mackenzie to the Pacific 
had already paved the way for the opening up of the region still 
farther west. Political events had brought it about that the work 
during the latter part of the century had fallen entirely to British 
subjects, while British traders and surveyors, working inde- 
pendently from the side of the Pacific, had likewise secured an 
undisputed position on its more northern coasts, and thus helped 
to lay the foundation of a British Dominion from shore to shore 
of the continent. 

II. The Mississippi Basin. 

While the latter part of the eighteenth century was thus a 
period of rapid advance into the far north-west of Canada, 
nothing at all comparable to these achievements took place in 
the more southern region of the continent, now occupied by the 
United States. As in the earlier period, when the French were 
rapidly pushing outwards in Canada and on the Mississippi, the 


English settlers on the Atlantic seaboard were long content with 
a more gradual and steady expansion. The nearly continuous 
range of the AUeghanies formed a natural barrier to the growth 
of the Eastern colonies, and long marked the extreme limit of 
knowledge from the east, though, as we have seen in an earlier 
chapter, the French, as represented by La Salle and his coadj utors, 
had by their descent of the Mississippi drawn a band of known 
ground round the hinterland of the British colonies. No such 
unlimited field was therefore open here to touch the imagination 
and fire the ardour of explorers as in the Canadian West, though 
an important and arduous task awaited them in the opening up of 
the rough wilderness between the AUeghanies and the Mississippi. 
A few figures stand out amid the host of nameless pioneers as 
having contributed to a knowledge of this region. About the 
middle of the eighteenth century many journeys to the region of 
the Ohio were made by agents employed to negotiate with the 
Indians both before and during the French wars\ Conrad 
Wieser, a Wiirtemberger who had settled in Pennsylvania and 
became a noted interpreter, was sent to negotiate with the 
Indians in 1748. George Croghan, an Irish settler in Penn- 
sylvania, also noted as an Indian agent, made a number of 
journeys to the Ohio between 1747 and 1765, in which last year 
he carried out a rough survey of the river during a tour down it 
towards Illinoi.s. In 1758-59 a Moravian missionary. Christian 
Frederick Post, undertook embassies to the Indians on the Ohio, 
whose neutrahty he secured at a critical juncture. He afterwards 
founded a mission within the limits of the modern State of Ohio. 
Kentucky also began to be systematically explored only about 
this time, though it had been reached by individual adventurers 
much earlier^- The first to do much with a special view to 
exploration was Dr Thomas Walker of Virginia, who in 1748 
discovered the pass near the southern end of the Alleghany 

^ The French on the Great Lakes had long known the general course of 
the Ohio, at least in its upper portions, the river being used as a line of approach 
to the region beyond. But neither they nor the early English pioneers had 
gone far into the wildernesses on the south side. 

^ Among these were Colonel Wood, who penetrated into the country soon 
after the middle of the 17th century; and, some years later, traders named 
Doherty and Adair. 


system, destined to play so important a part in the future history 
of the region, and ever since known by Walker's name of Cum- 
berland Gap. The Cumberland Mountains and River were also 
named by Walker, who two years later made a more extended 
exploration, with five companions, to the headwaters of the 
Kentucky. Between 1751 and 1767 adventurers spread them- 
selves in increasing numbers over these great hunting grounds, 
names deserving mention being those of Christopher Gist, Wallen, 

Kentucky and its approaches. 

James Smith, Harrod, and Finly. But among the host of " back- 
woodsmen," who made their order famous for determination and 
hardihood, few stood out as markedly more meritorious than their 
fellows, and for a time little practical result ensued. 

It was to a farmer of North Carohna, Daniel Boon by name, 
that the first real impetus towards the opening up of the great 
central basin of the modern United States was due. A typical 
backwoodsman, passionately devoted to the wandering life of the 


hunter and explorer, Boon exhibited the daring, fortitude, and 
self-reliance of his class in a peculiar degree, coupled with other 
qualities which inspired confidence and enabled him to play a 
leading part among his associates. Leaving his home, with five 
others, on May i, 1769, and crossing the mountains by difficult 
paths, Boon descended westward into the fertile and forest-clad 
plain of Kentucky. During his wanderings here he had the 
misfortune to be captured by Indians, but, effecting his escape, 
joined his brother, who had followed him across the mountains. 
In 1773, he decided to move with his family into this new and 
promising region, and the first step towards the settlement of 
Kentucky was thus taken. Various survey parties soon visited 
the country. One of the most active leaders was John Floyd, 
who in 1774 led a party down the Kanawha and Ohio to the 
Kentucky River and beyond, traversing the country in various 
directions as far as the Falls of the Ohio. Floyd made his way 
back amid considerable hardships by way of the Cumberland Gap. 
About the same time settlements began to be made in the upper 
basin of the Tennessee River, between the Cumberland Mountains 
on the north-west and the Great Smoky Mountains on the south- 
east ; the most active pioneers in this direction being two young 
men named John Sevier and James Robertson. 

The war between the colonists and Indians which took place 
in 1774, and is known as Lord Dunmore's War from the English 
Governor of Virginia who carried it through, led to a temporary 
withdrawal from Kentucky, though by weakening the power of 
the Indians it helped in no small degree to make possible the 
further opening up of this central region. In 1775 settlement on 
a more extended scale was inaugurated by an enterprising pioneer 
named Nathaniel Henderson, who had raised himself by his 
personal qualities from a low station. Securing the cooperation 
of Boon and others, he obtained a concession from the Indians 
and for a time formed a semi-independent republic in the wilder- 
ness. During the troublous time of the revolution, from 1775 
onwards, operations were extended into the country north of the 
Ohio, then occupied by scattered French settlements under British 
suzerainty. The daring scheme of the conquest, for the revolted 
colonies, of this important tract (lying between the Great Lakes, the 


Ohio, and the Mississippi) was due to the enterprising Kentucky 
pioneer George- Rogers Clark, who in 1778 descended the Ohio 
almost to its mouth with a small force of frontiersmen, and made 1 
a bold march north mto the heart of this region, taking Vincennes \ 
on the Wabash by surprise, and even holding his own against the ', 
English Governor Hamilton who marched against him from 1 
Detroit. In this way an immense tract of territory, first opened 
up from the side of Canada, passed eventually into the possession l 
of the United States. By the end of the century most of the 
country east of the Mississippi had thus been brought within the 
ken of civilisation. The lands beyond the Mississippi had, for 
the most part, to wait their turn till the new century had begun. 


I. North America. 

Besides the maritime efforts spoken of in a previous chapter, 
a certain amount of land exploration was effected during the 
eighteenth century on the western side of North America from 
the base afforded by the Spanish settlements in Northern Mexico. 
It will be remembered that, quite in the early days of the Conquest, 
Spanish adventurers like Coronado had pushed north into the 
basin of the Colorado, but their achievements had to a large 
extent fallen into oblivion, and the later explorers had virtually to 
begin afresh in this direction. As in other parts of the Spanish 
dominions at this epoch, most of the advance was due to the zeal 
of the missionaries, particularly the Jesuits, who extended the 
bounds of knowledge either by journeys with the special object 
of exploration, or incidentally to the prosecution of their more 
special work. Some attempts were also made on the part of the 
Spanish Government, but the want of energy and settled plan 
with which they were prosecuted rendered them in great part 
fruitless. It had long been a desired object with the Mexican 
authorities to discover a harbour or harbours on the coast of 
California at which the ships from the PhiUppines might refresh 
on first striking the coast of North America, and it was with this 
purpose that the voyages of Vizcaino in 1596 and 1602 had been 
undertaken. Somewhat later, a special object of investigation 
was the ascertainment of the true character of the peninsula of 
Lower California, for though in the early maps based on Spanish 
voyages during the sixteenth century (among others, that of 


Sebastian Cabot in 1544) it had been correctly shown as a penin- 
sula, an error was subsequently introduced and persisted throughout 
the next century, by which California was held to be an island'. 

Among the Government expeditions during the latter part of 
the seventeenth century the most important was that of Don 
Isidro Otondo, in 1683-85, in which three Jesuits, Fathers Kiihn 
(Kino in Spanish), Copart, and Goni took part. In the person of 
the first-named an actor appeared on the scene who was to play 
an important part in the opening up of this region. Attempts 
were made to found settlements on the eastern side of the penin- 
sula, and parties were also sent into the interior. But the barrenness 
and rugged nature of the country stood in the way of success, 
and, difficulties with the natives also arising, Otondo eventually 
found it necessary to reembark the whole of the intending settlers 
and sail back to Mexico. The work of nearly three years was 
thus without any direct result. But the expedition was not without 
its influence on future events. Kiihn's interest in California was 
not allowed to slumber. Having obtained an appointment in the 
Sonora Missions on the opposite mainland, he succeeded in com- 
municating his own enthusiasm to another Jesuit, Father Juan 
Salvatierra, during a visit of inspection by the latter. After, many 
rebuffs Salvatierra was authorised to establish a mission ip the 
peninsula, and he set out for that purpose in October, 1697. In 
spite of many difficulties, both from the nature of the country and 
the fickleness of the natives, he succeeded in establishing the 
mission on a more or less solid foundation, aided by Father 
Piccolo and others. From the mission of Loreto, on the inner 
side of the peninsula, expeditions were made into the interior, 
and on one of these a sight of the Pacific was obtained. Mean- 
while Father Kiihn had not been idle. With untiring energy 
he traversed the length and breadth of Sonora, opening up new 
missions towards the north, and using every opportunity of 
extending geographical knowledge. On some of his journeys he 
was accompanied by an officer, Juan Mateo Mange, whose diaries 
supply a detailed account of their experiences. In 1694 Kiihn 
went north as far' as the Gila (the last important tributary of the 

' This was due to a false report that ships had sailed out into the ocean 
from the northern end of the Gulf of California. 


Colorado), and in 1697 accompanied a military expedition to that 
river. He again made his way to the Gila in 1698, and thence 
reached the coast of the gulf, where he found a good port with 
fresh water and wood. Determined if possible to settle the 
question of the junction of California with the mainland, he set 
out again in September, 1700, accompanied by Indians of various 
tribes. Reaching the Gila once more, he descended it to its 
junction with the Colorado, in the country of the Yuma Indians. 
Failing to reach the sea, he turned back and, climbing a high 
mountain, obtained a distant view of the mountains of California 
and the mouth of the Colorado. 

Kiihn was now convinced of the peninsular character of 
California, though he had not actually proved its connection with 
the mainland. Before the end of 1700 Salvatierra paid a visit to 
Sonora and in March, 1701, Kiihn and he undertook a new 
journey in concert. They at first tried to cross the wide expanse 
of sands near the head of the gulf, but without success, though 
Kiihn climbed a hill and gained a view of the opposite coast and 
the Calif ornian mountains. Trying again by a more inland route 
they obtained another distant view, but were then forced to retrace 
their steps. In November of the same year Kiihn went north 
again, and, after crossing and recrossing the Gila, followed the 
Colorado through the country of the Yumas and Quinquimas, 
and crossed to its western bank on a "balsa" constructed of trees. 
He found great numbers of Indians inhabiting a level and partially 
wooded country, with a good soil, and learned that the South Sea 
could be reached in ten days. But having no means of taking his 
animals across the Colorado, there a stream 200 yards in width, 
he had once more to retrace his steps. Finally in February, 1702, 
he made a last attempt, accompanied by Father Gonzales. This 
time he followed the Colorado to its mouth, but the serious 
illness of his companion once more necessitated a return, the 
latter succumbing to the fatigues of the journey on reaching the 
first mission station. 

By these journeys Kiihn virtually solved the problem which 
had so long exercised the minds of his contemporaries, though it 
was left to another of the missionaries to finally set at rest all 
doubts on the subject. 


Other workers had now joined Father Salvatierra in the 
peninsula, the most active among them being Father Ugarte, 
who from his station on the mainland had already done much to 
help by collecting and forwarding supplies to the advanced posts 
in California. In 1703, among other journeys, Salvatierra made 
one across the peninsula to its outer coast. Three years later 
Ugarte, accompanied by Father Bravo, carried out a further 
examination of that coast, but found it barren and unpromising. 
His party was reduced to serious straits for want of water and 
only made its way back to the gulf after suffering severe hardships. 
In 1719 Father Guillen likewise made an attempt in the same 
direction, but though he reached the Magdalena Bay of Vizcaino, 
near the southern end of the outer coast, he too found the scarcity 
of water an insuperable obstacle. A more successful expedition 
on the gulf side of the peninsula was carried out in 1721 by 
Ugarte, who sailed from the port of Loreto in May of that year 
to survey the coasts to the north. Besides a larger vessel, he had 
at his disposal a pinnace and boat, which permitted the survey 
of the shallower waters adjoining the coast. , After following the 
west coast of the gulf for some days, the expedition crossed over 
to the mainland side and opened communication with the mission 
of Caborca, one of those founded by Kiihn. Ugarte now became 
seriously ill, but resolutely stuck to his task. Crossing to the 
west side of the gulf in three days, the party experienced much 
difificulty on account of the violent tidal currents. The sea also 
changed its colour, becoming generally reddish from the effect of 
the Colorado water. The vessels anchored at last near the eastern 
mouth of the river, which was in flood and carried down large 
quantities of grass, leaves, tree-trunks, etc. The junction of the 
peninsula with the mainland was ascertained by a distant view, 
and the height of the, tides was also regarded as indicating that 
the gulf was completely closed in to the north. On July 16 Ugarte 
turned soiuh, but the troubles of the expedition were not yet over. 
Scurvy m*e its appearance, and with their reduced strength the 
voyagers had to combat a succession of storms, which so impeded 
their progress that it was not till September that they were once 
more back at their starting point. 

The general contours of the gulf were now ascertained with 

H. 23 

The Jesuit Map of Southern California. 

(From Venegas's History of California.) 


more or less accuracy, and much credit is due to Ugarte for the 
determined way in which he carried out his task in the face of 
many obstacles. His work was somewhat improved upon a quarter 
of a century later by Father Consag, who, in view of the contem- 
plated completion of the conquest of California, was commissioned 
to make a survey of the coasts of the gulf as far as the Colorado 
River. This he did in 1746, making besides a fruitless effort to 
ascend the Colorado ; the result being, however, to confirm the 
general correctness of Ugarte's statements. Consag afterwards 
(i7Sr-53) made journeys on the outer coast of the peninsula, 
towards the north, while in 1756 Father Wenzel (Wenceslaus) 
Link partially explored the northern peninsula by land. 

Further attempts had been made a little before this to extend 
the Spanish influence northwards from the side of the mainland, 
though little had been added to the knowledge previously acquired. 
One of the objects in view was the establishment of missions 
among the Moqui Indians, to the north-east of Sonora, in a region 
towards which some -advance had already been made by the 
Franciscans. In 1743 Father Keler set out on a journey to the 
north, but he had but an insufficient escort, and was forced to 
turn back after proceeding some days' journey beyond the Gila. 
In 1744 Father Sedelmayer made an attempt in the same direction, 
but though he visited the Yuma Indians, he shed no new light on 
the geography of the region. A more important journey was 
made some years later by Father Garces, a Franciscan who had 
been in charge of the mission of San Xavier del Bac in Sonora^ ; 
for, since the expulsion of the Jesuits from all the Spanish do- 
minions in 1767, their place in these missions had been taken 
by the Franciscans. 

From 1768 onwards Garces made various expeditions for 
missionary purposes, partly to discover new routes between the 
widely-scattered stations in Sonora and California. The first two, 
in 1768 and 1770, were of no great importance. In 1771 he 
descended the Rio Gila to the Colorado, and crossed the latter to 
its western bank in the country of the Yum as. His wanderings are 
not easy to trace, but he seems to have almost reached the mouth 

1 The province of Sonora then extended beyond the limits of the modem 
Mexico, and San Xavier was in what is now Arizona, a little south of Tucson. 



of the Colorado before returning to the Gila, and so south to 
Caborca. About this time more serious efforts were being made 
by the Spanish authorities to extend their settlements along 
the coast of Upper California, as has already been mentioned 
in the chapter dealing with Pacific voyages; and it was felt 
to be particularly desirable to open up an overland route to 
the port of Monterey on that coast (occupied in 1770), while 
the extension of the missions in this direction was also taken in 
hand. In 1774 Captain Juan Bautista de Anza was commis- 
sioned to find a way oveHand from Mexico to Upper California, 
and Garces accompanied him as chaplain. The party made its 
way, by the Gila and Colorado, to the mission of San Gabriel, 
which had been established near the coast of Upper California in 
about 34° N., not far from the modern town of Los Angeles. The 
main body returned by the same route, while Garces turned aside 
to visit one of the Yuma tribes on the Colorado. In 1775 Anza 
was sent on a more important errand — for the establishment of a 
mission and government station at San Francisco — and Garces 
again started with him. On arriving at the Yuma country, how- 
ever, he once more went exploring on his own account. From 
the Colorado mouth he ascended the river to Mojave in lat. 
35° N., proceeding thence west by a new route across country 
to San Gabriel. Once more setting out from this station, he 
made a trip north to the Tulare valley, afterwards returning to 
Mojave, and continuing his journey eastward to the Moqui 
country, which, it will be remembered, had been an objective 
of several of the Jesuit missionaries in the closing years of their 
regime. This was his farthest towards the north-east, and he 
now retraced his steps by Mojave to the Yuma country and 
returned by the Gila to his station of Bac, which was reached on 
September 17, 1776. 

This journey of Garces had broken a certain amount of new 
ground, and it was quite the most important of his entradas, as 
these pioneer journeys of the missionaries were styled at the time. 
Three years later it was decided to found a mission among the 
Yumas, several coadjutors being assigned to Garces for the 
purpose. The attempt led to disaster, the measures adopted 
being injudicious. Some of the best lands of the Yumas were 


appropriated by the settlers, and the discontent naturally fostered 
by this proceeding led to a wholesale massacre of the Spaniards, 
Garces and his fellow-workers falling victims among the rest. 

A still more important journey was made at this time by two 
other Franciscan friars. Fathers Escalante and Dominguez, still 
with the object of opening up an overland route from Northern 
Mexico to the Pacific seaboard. The starting point was the city 
of Santa Fe, long before established on the northern frontier of 
the Spanish dominions, and as this lay far to the east of Sonora, 
a correspondingly longer journey was involved than in the case of 
attempts from the western province. The friars did not actually 
accomplish their purpose, but they traversed a large extent of 
new country, and their journey constituted the most important ex- 
ploration achieved before the beginning of the nineteenth century 
in the south-west of the modern United States. Setting out from 
Santa Fe in July, 1776, with two officers and five soldiers, they 
took a north-westerly course, crossing the Upper Rio Grande and 
entering the basin of the Colorado. On reaching the head-waters 
of the San Juan, its eastern tributary, the party seems for a time 
to have turned to the west, but again took a more northerly 
course across the plateau region between the San Juan and the 
Upper Colorado, following for a time the course of the Rio 
Dolores. After visiting an encampment of Yuta (Utah) Indians 
the travellers crossed the Grand River or Colorado early in 
September, and continuing on a north-west course soon a,fter- 
wards came to the Green River, the second main head-stream 
of the Colorado, before reaching which a buffalo was killed. On 
crossing the Green River they were in the country raided by the 
dreaded Comanche Indians, but they do not seem to have en- 
countered any of these. A difficult route across the mountains 
brought them to a stream flowing south-west into a lake, known 
to the natives as Timpanogos, but which has since received the 
name Utah — the small lake which discharges north into the Great 
Salt Lake, the hydrographical centre of the vast tract of inland 
drainage now known As the Great Basin. The natives hereabout 
(Yutas or Utahs) lived in primitive fashion, and the fathers found 
no towns like those of the Moquis and Zunis as they had 
hoped. At first timid, these people soon became friendly and 


expressed their willingness that a mission should be established 
among them. They also gave a good deal of information on the 
geography of the surrounding region, telling in particular of a 
larger lake to the north (the Great Salt Lake of later days), 
whose saline waters were very injurious to those who bathed in 

The fathers had now pushed considerably north of the direct 
route to Monterey, whether from a desire to find out as much as 
possible about this northern terra incognita, or because the 
difficulty of crossing the region of canons about the middle 
course of the Colorado had necessitated their making a circuit. 
It was therefore necessary, in view of the advancing season, to 
turn their steps southwards, a direction which led them by the 
valley of the Sevier River (which they called Santa Isabel) and 
past the lake of the same name. When in the valley now known 
as Escalante they enquired in vain for the sea or the Spanish 
settlements, and after a difference of opinion had been settled by 
casting lots, they turned eastward for the Colorado, which was 
reached on October 26. Some days were occupied in the search 
for a ford, which was at last found in 37° N. The first settlements 
of the Moquis were reached on November 16, but though these 
people expressed a readiness to live in friendship with the 
Spaniards, they declined to allow the establishment of a mission. 
Zuni was passed towards the end of the month and on January 2, 
1777, the party was once more back in Santa Fe. The fathers 
had achieved an important piece of exploration, and Escalante's 
narrative of the journey contains a good deal of information 
on the features of the country, its climate, products, and people. 

This journey marks the farthest advance of the Spaniards in 
the interior of North America. It was not followed up, and it 
was half a century later that fur hunters and other adventurers 
from the United States first made their way to the region of the 
Great Salt Lake. 

II. South America, 

Like the century which preceded it, the eighteenth century 
was in South America a period of strong missionary activity, the 
Jesuits and other orders continuing to push their posts farther 


and farther afield, until, at the time of their greatest extension, 
there were few parts of the continent in which their influence was 
not to some extent felt. The quest of mineral wealth and slaves 
was accountable, too, for a good deal of exploring activity, 
especially in the Portuguese possessions. Some of the first 
purely scientific work in South America was also done during the 
century, but this was but a beginning, though an important one, 
and it can hardly be said to affect the general character of the 
century's output. 

To begin with the part of the interior longest open to European 
influence — that of the upper basin of the La Plata — we have seen 
in a previous chapter how various attempts were made in the 
seventeenth century to establish missions among the tribes known 
by the general names of Chiriguanas and Chiquitos, towards the 
frontiers of Bolivia, and how the Spanish missions to the latter 
had begun, at the close of the century, to feel the encroachments 
of Portuguese adventurers from the side of Brazil. The Chiri- 
guanas proved so intractable that the attempt to convert them 
was soon abandoned, efforts being concentrated on the more 
amenable Chiquitos. The desire to open up a shorter and easier 
route from the more eastern missions to the Chiquitos country led 
to various journeys which did something to improve the knowledge 
of the upper basin of the Paraguay. In 1702 Fathers Francisco 
Hervas and Miguel de Yegros went east from the Chiquitos, 
mission of San Rafael, reaching a river which they thought 
to be the Paraguay or a branch of it, and setting up a cross as 
a landmark. In 1703 Hervas, with Father de Arce and several 
others, was sent up the Paraguay in order to reach the same spot. 
In spite of the treacherous behaviour of the Payaguas dwelling on 
the river's banks, they pushed on, but searched in vain for the 
mark set up the year before. It became necessary to turn back, 
and the return journey was only accomplished with much hard- 
ship. In 1704-5 Yegros made a new attempt from the Chiquitos 
country, and ascertained that the river reached in 1702 had no 
connection with the Paraguay. In 17 15 Fathers de Arce and 
Blende tried once more from the side of the Paraguay, but failed 
to effect the desired junction, and on their return were both 
murdered by the natives, in revenge for wrongs done by Spanish 



adventurers. The attempt by the Paraguay was now given up, 
and attention turned to the Pilcomayo, its most important western 
tributary. In 1721 it was arranged that parties should start from 
both sides simultaneously, Fathers Patino and Rodriguez ascending 
the river, while a party from Tucuman endeavoured to meet them. 
The latter advanced no great distance before turning back, but 

The Jesuit Map of Paraguay as shown by D'Anville. 

{Outline sketch.) 

Patino and his companion did a notable piece of work, which no 
traveller improved upon for many years. The labyrinth of channels 
and the extensive swamps which characterise the middle course 
of the Pilcomayo make both its navigation and travel along its 
banks a matter of great difficulty — so much so that a portion 
remained imperfectly known at the beginning of the twentieth 


century. Halving ascended the river for 60 leagues in a vessel of 
some size, the fathers went on in boats a distance which they 
estimated at 1000 miles, and their turning point was said to have 
been only some 60 miles below Santa Barbara. A treacherous 
attack by the Toba Indians necessitated a retreat, the return 
being accomplished in safety, though the main object of the 
journey remained unfulfilled. Twenty years later, in 1741, a 
renewed attempt to ascend the Pilcomayo was made by Father 
Castanares, but he too was forced to turn back. The next year 
he went to Bolivia, and, starting from Tarija, began the descent 
of the Pilcomayo, hoping to find the difficulties less in this 
direction. But on reaching the neighbourhood of Santa Barbara 
he was attacked and murdered by Indians — the Mataguayos — 
and this, like all previous attempts to open the Pilcomayo route, 
thus ended in failure. The explorations of the Jesuits in this 
region were finally brought to a close by the expulsion of the 
order from all the Spanish dominions by the decree of 1767. 
The extent of the Jesuit knowledge of this part of South America 
is well shown by the, maps of Matthew Seutter, D'Anville and 

others. D'Anyi^eXversion, prepared for the Lettres Edifiantes et 
Curieuses, is h'er« 'reproduced in outline. 

The missions' to the tribes known to the Spaniards by the 
general designation Moxos were gradually extended farther afield 
during this century, but with no great results from a geographical 
standpoint. A greater extension of knowledge was due to the 
Portuguese adventurers in Mato Gro'sso, that vast and thinly 
peopled wilderness, most difficult of access of all , the Brazihan 
provinces. In 1734 mines were discovered in this region by 
Antonio Fernandez de Abreu, and adventurers soon began to 
flock in in the hope of making a speedy fortune. Among these 
was Manoel Felix de Lima, one of the original companions of 
Abreu, who, failing to make profit out of the mines, turned his 
energies to an exploring venture still farther afield, in the direction 
of the great Madeira tributary of the Amazon. Although the 
Moxo missions had been long established on the head-waters of 
the Madeira system, the middle course of the great river was still 
but little known, though some attempts to push upwards from its 
lower basin had been made from the side of Para. Thus some 


twenty years before the date of Manoel Felix's venture, an 
expedition under Francisco de Mello, acting under the orders of 
the governor of Para, had ascended as far as the Mamore. The 
Spanish authorities had put obstacles in his way and he had been 
forced to return, no practical result being gained by his journey. 

Manoel Felix was a native of Portugal, and, though supersti- 
tious, of a somewhat higher class than many of the adventurers of 
the time ; but his companions were in great part men of broken 
fortunes, who joined him with a view to escaping their creditors. 
A start was made in 1742. After following down the Sarare to 
the Guapore, and beginning the descent of the latter, the party 
divided, some of the adventurers being dismayed at the difficulties 
in store. Manoel and the rest continued the voyage, and with 
some difficulty found their way to a mission on the Baures, in 
charge of a German Jesuit who had adopted the half-Spanish 
name of Gaspar de Prado. This was the most recent establish- 
ment of the Moxo missions, and the Mura Indians among whom 
the father was working were under very partial control. Both 
here and at a settlement on the Ubay^mder Joseph Reiter, 
a Hungarian) the voyagers were well^^^^^^ until orders 
came from the Provincial of the missions <^^^By were to be 
dismissed. Re-entering the Guapore, the^f^^ reached its 
junction with the Mamore, and continuing the voyage, passed the 
mouth of the Beni, the third great head-stream of the Madeira. 
They now encountered dangerous falls and rapids, while their 
troubles were increased by 'the shortness of their food-supply and 
the constant plague of flies. The canoe struck on a rock and was 
lost, but another was providentially discovered caught between 
two rocks near an island. The last fall having been passed, traces 
were seen of an abandoned settlement of the Portuguese from 
Para. Hunger began, to press severely on the party, but they at 
last obtained relief at a Portuguese mission station, and, passing 
two others, eventually entered the main stream of the Amazon, 
having traced down its largest tributary from almost the very head 
of one of its main branches. 

On reaching Para Manoel was sent to Lisbon to report on 
his journey, which the authorities regarded as of considerable 
importance. He had himself formed an inordinate idea of the 


value of his services and made correspondingly excessive claims. 
He frequented the court for some years in the vain hope of getting 
them recognised, and died in extreme poverty. Some of his 
comrades, after returning to Mato Grosso, made a second expedi- 
tion under Francisco Leme, but it was without important result. 

Somewhat further east, one Joao de Sousa a Azevedo made 
an adventurous journey about this time in the borderlands be- 
tween the Paraguay and Amazon basins, through country that has 
remained but imperfectly known down to our own times. From 
Cuyaba in south-east Mato Grosso he descended the Cuyaba 
River to the Paraguay, ascended the latter river and one of its 
tributaries to the water-parting, and made his way across this 
to the basin of the Tapajos, one of the great southern tributaries 
of the Amazon. 

The Portuguese and Spaniards had now come in contact in 
the very centre of the continent, and efforts were made on both 
sides to secure control of the debateable ground forming the 
frontier zone. In 1749 an expedition was organised from Para 
for the purpose o^recA:ing Manoel Felix's journey in the reverse 
direction by a^^^^p the Madeira to Mato Grosso ; and it was 
placed under^^^Hraership of Francisco Leme and his brother. 
Though the o^|^^n view was eventually attained, the expedition 
underwent many dangers and hardships on the way. About three 
weeks up the Madeira it was attacked by a band of Muras, but 
they were repulsed. Light canoes were built for the passage of 
the rapids, but these were surmounted only with great labour, . 
frequent portages being necessary. On reaching the first Spanish 
mission near the mouth of the Mamore, the travellers were 
agreeably surprised at receiving a friendly welcome, the accession 
of Ferdinand VI to the throne of Spain having, through the in- 
fluence of his Portuguese queen, greatly improved the relations 
between the two kingdoms. But their troubles were not yet over. 
It was now the most unfavourable season of the year for travel : 
all the rivers were rising, and the retreat of animal life from the 
banks made it almost impossible to procure food-supplies from 
the woods. Some help was obtained from Father Gaspar at San 
Miguel, but difficulties in the shape of flooded lands, disease, 
and want of food, still pursued the party. It became necessary 


to send on the most fit in canoes, to bring supplies from the 
nearest Portuguese settlements, and with this aid they at last 
reached the Sarare, and three days later the post of Pescaria, 
having spent nine months on the journey. The water-route thus 
opened up now became fairly frequented. 

Further south, exploration was carried on little by little in the 
western parts of the La Plata basin, and on the coasts of Northern 
Patagonia, though the wild region known as the Gran Chaco long 
remained almost untraversed by white men, except on its outer 
borders. Political events had much to do with the increase of 
activity displayed during the second half of the eighteenth century. 
It had become eminently desirable that the possessions of Spain 
and Portugal should be more clearly delimited in the centre of 
the continent than had hitherto been the case, and the improved 
relations now prevailing between the two crowns soon had their 
outcome in a treaty, concluded in 1750, by which the entire 
mutual frontier in South America was defined in detail, so far as 
geographical knowledge permitted. The information recently 
gained made it possible to draw the hne of partition with some 
regard to geographical facts, though in certairt»-parts, especially 
along the extreme north-west borders of Brazil, 'it'^'Was perforce left 
extremely vague pending further examinatioU' of the country; 
This treaty is noteworthy for its recognition of accomplished facts 
and the setting aside of old claims based on the Pope's division 
of the newly-discovered lands between Spain and Portugal at the 
time of the discovery of America. But it was not destined to 
come into force, for the threatened transfer to Portugal of some 
of the Spanish missions among the Guaranis, and eviction of these 
from their homes, led to a revolt of that people, and before this 
had been finally quelled, both parties to the treaty had become 
dissatisfied with its terms. By niutiial consent it was allowed to 
lapse, to be replaced nearly thirty years later (1777) by a new 
treaty, which has ever since formed the basis of the political 
partition of South America, though its ambiguities gave rise to 
many disputes in after times. 

This treaty was the means of bringing on the scene one of the 
greatest travellers in South America during the eighteenth cen- 
tury, whose activities in the southern half of the continent were. 




however, soon to be matched and even surpassed by those of 
Humboldt in the northern half. This was Don Felix de Azara, 
a Spanish officer born in 1746, who, after receiving a severe wound 
in the campaign against the Algerian pirates in 1775, was in 1780 

Don Felix de Azara. 

(From the portrait in the atlas to his Voyages.) 

appointed one of the Spanish commissioners for the delimita- 
tion of the boundary between Brazil and the Spanish provinces 
in the basin of the La Plata. Azara, who received the naval rank 


of captain in connection with this appointment, was one of 
several commissioners who set sail for South America in 1781. 
The boundary to be laid down extended from the sea in the 
south-east, to the Madeira below the junction of the Mamore and 
Guapore in the north-west. It was divided into five sections, the 
second pair of which, starting from the sea, were assigned to 
Azara as his share of the work on hand\ Proceeding at once to 
Asundon, the capital of Paraguay, he began operations, but 
soon found that the Portuguese commissioners, dissatisfied with 
the course assigned by the treaty to the boundary, were in no 
haste to complete their task, The delays thus occasioned were 
utilised by Azara in extensive journeys on his own account through 
various parts of Paraguay (which then extended much beyond the 
limits of the modern state of that name), it being his ambition to 
map the province for the first time in accordance with the new 
standards of his day. From his description of the methods he 
employed it is evident with what care and efficiency his work was 
performed, and the result was the acquisition of a knowledge of the 
Paraguay region far in advance of anything previously available, 
though Azara was obliged to supplement his own work with the 
most trustworthy of previous data. Not content with a mere topo- 
graphical survey, he devoted himself with untiring energy to the 
investigation of the natural history of the region — a task which he 
took up under serious disadvantages as he had had no previous 
training in these branches of study. But this want was in part at 
least made up for by the extreme care with which his descriptions 
were written down, so that his works on the natural history of 
Paraguay were long drawn upon as standard authorities. 

After 13 years' work in the northern interior, Azara received 
a new commission, being placed in charge of th^ whole southern 
border, where the authorities were desirous of extending Spanish 
influence in the regions of the Pampas Indians. The desert 
nature of much of the country, and the risks of attack by the 
wild inhabitants, rendered the task a difficult one, but here too a 
greatly improved knowledge resulted from Azara's labours. After 
completing this mission, he turned his attention to the region of 
the lower Parana (which was surveyed in conjunction with two 
1 The two nearest the sea were assigned tp Azara's colleague Varela. 


assistants, Cervino and Ynciarte) and the district of Santa Fe. 
After this he was sent to the eastern frontier, which he surveyed 
and mapped, and his last service was the settlement of colonists 
in this part of the country near the sources of the Ybicui. These 
various labours occupied him till the beginning of the new century, 
and it was only in 1801, after twenty years' arduous work, that he 
received permission to return to Spain. He had suffered much 
from the jealousy of the authorities in South America — one viceroy 
even making the attempt to palm off Azara's natural history 
memoirs as his own — and everything had been done to prejudice 
him with the home government. That he persevered with his 
(in part at least) self-imposed tasks in spite of these drawbacks is 
one of his most cogent claims to our admiration^. 

We must now go back somewhat in time, and consider the 
advance effected during the eighteenth century in the northern 
half of South America, where also some progress was made, 
though hardly so much as further south, until a new era was 
opened by the masterly labours of Humboldt begun in the last 
years of the century. As mentioned in a previous chapter, the 
expeditions of Teixeira and his colleagues on the main stream of 
the Amazon were followed by inroads of Portuguese adventurers 
into the regions watered by its various tributaries. Their main 
object was the quest of slaves, which they procured by the detest- 
able practice of stirring up wars among the native tribes, and then 
"ransoming" the captives taken by one side or the other. In 
this way, during the first half of this century, they had begun to 
frequent the region of the upper Rio Negro, and so to approach 
the Spanish settlements pushed south from Venezuela by way of 
the Orinoco. As usual, the most advanced posts were those 
established by the missionaries, who had already settled in the 
region of the falls on the middle course of the Orinoco. In order 
to gain a knowledge of existing conditions in the frontier zone, 
Father Ramon set out early in 1744 from the highest Spanish 
mission, and making his way towards the upper river, encountered 

^ Owing to the obstacles put in his way by his superiors, only a part of the 
voluminous results of Azara's researches was published during his life-time, and 
at least one important memoir did not see the light till our own times. 


a party of Portuguese slave-traders at the confluence of the two 
main upper branches — the Guaviare from the west, and the 
shorter branch conventionally known as the Upper Orinoco, 
from the east. He accompanied them by way of the Cassiquiari — 
the stream which connects the basins of the Orinoco and Amazon 
and of which, till then, little precise information had been ob- 
tained — to the Portuguese settlements on the Rio Negro, where, 
after waiting some time, he met the Portuguese Jesuit Avogadro. 
He returned by the same route, the existence of which he was 
thus the first to make generally known, though its true character 
remained for some time imperfectly understood by geographers 
in Europe^ Further work was done in the same region 12 years 
later by a Government expedition under Iturriaga and Solano — 
the latter acting as geographer^ — organised a few years after the 
boundary treaty of 1750 spoken of above, and generally known as 
the " expedition of the boundaries.'' Solano founded a mission 
station at the confluence of the Guaviare and Upper Orinoco, 
and this received the name San Fernando de Atabapo, the 
Atabapo being a third stream which comes in from the south at 
the same spot. The new settlement had many difficulties to 
contend against and was forced to draw supplies from so distant 
a base as Colombia, by way of the rivers Meta and Vichada — a 
fact which is of interest as showing that a certain amount of 
intercommunication across the still little-known area east of the 
Andes of Colombia was possible even at this date". A little later 
a renewal of interest in the fabled El Dorado, with the city of 
Manoa and the great lake Parime, then located by geographers 
to the south of the Guianas, led to some journeys to the more 
easterly parts of the borderland between the Orinoco and Amazon 
basins. The Spanish governor of Angostura on the Lower 
Orinoco — Don Centurion — was ambitious of effecting the long-, 
dreamt-of discovery, and various attempts were made, some by 

1 Some information regarding Ramon's journey was brought to Europe by 
tlie French scientific traveller La Condamine, whose descent of the Amazon 
from Peru to the Atlantic, to be spoken of shortly, took place about this time. 

^ This region had been the scene of several adventurous journeys in quest 
of El Dorado as early as the i6th century (see introductory chapter), though 
these had not been followed up. 


way of the Caura and Paragua, but they either ended in disaster, 
or were at least without practical result. The most important 
expeditions were those of Nicolas Rodriguez and Antonio Santos 
(1775-1780), the latter of whom is said to have made his way 
south by the Caroni and Paragua Rivers and across the Pacaraima 
Mountains as far as the Rio Branco in the north of the Amazon 
basin. But these efforts were soon relaxed and no further light 
was thrown on this part of South America until many years 

One other great undertaking in the northern half of South 
America, of a character which places it in a category apart from 
the pioneer work already dealt with, remains to be spoken of in 
this chapter. This was the geodetic measurement for the deter- 
mination of the length of a degree of the meridian in the 
equatorial region, carried out on the Andean tableland under 
the auspices of the Paris Academy. It was the first great 
operation of the kind ever undertaken, though carried out 
simultaneously with a similar piece of work, taken up under 
the same auspices, in the north of Europe ; the object being to 
determine the figure of the earth by a comparison of the length of 
the degree in different latitudes'- The work near the equator 
was entrusted to Bouguer, Godin, and La Condamine, who 
sailed from La Rochelle in May, 1735, accompanied by the 
physician Joseph de Jussieu and others. After some stay at the 
island of San Domingo, the party went to Carthagena, where they 
were met by the Spanish officers Jorge Juan and Antonio de 
UUoa, who had been appointed by the King of Spain to aid the 
French savants in their labours. The coast of Peru was sighted 
in March, 1736, and here Bouguer and La Condamine stayed 
behind for scientific observations, all the party being once more 
reunited at Quito by June of the same year. The geodetic opera- 
tions were carried out with the greatest precision then attainable, 

^ The northern arc was measured in Lapland, in the vicinity of the Arctic 
Circle. The French savants in charge were Maupertuis, Clairaut, Camus, 
Monnier and the Abbe Outhier, while they also had the cooperation of the 
Swedish astronomer Celsius. These observers started in 1736, a year later 
than the American party, but as the difficulties were considerably less, the 
measurement was completed in a shorter time than the other. 

H. 24 


and owing to the difficulties of the ground, the nature of the 
climate, and other obstacles, occupied in all several years, much 
valuable information on the nature and productions of the Andean 
tableland being also collected. The final operations were com- 
pleted in March, 1743, Bouguer and La Condamine then re- 
turning to Europe, while Godin, who had been joined in Peru 
by his wife, remained some years longer. Bouguer, who returned 
by the sea route, reached Europe first and presented the pre- 
liminary results of the undertaking to the Academy, while La 
Condamine decided to take the route of the Amazon across the 
entire breadth of South America before embarking for France. 
His voyage down the great river, though not actually opening up 
any unknown ground, was of value as being the first descent of 
the Amazon by a trained man of science, and his narrative did 
much to elucidate the geography and ethnography of the region 
passed through en route. 

Before finally returning to France Godin and his wife were 
destined to experience the most distressing reverses of fortune. 
Family affairs compelled the husband to proceed down the 
Amazon in advance, in 1749, and the war then in progress for 
years frustrated all his efforts to return to fetch his wife. When 
arrangements were at last made in 1766, his illness necessitated 
the employment of an agent, who proved untrustworthy, and it 
was not till 1769 that Madame Godin, accompanied by her two 
brothers, at length set out by the route down the Pastaza for 
Loreto on the Amazon, where a Portuguese vessel was awaiting 
her. The journey was attended by the most harrowing ex- 
periences. Abandoned by their native escort, and left destitute 
by the upsetting of their canoe, the small party wandered through 
the pathless forests, exposed to every kind of privation, to which 
all Madame Godin's companions succumbed, leaving her to 
struggle on alone until providentially succoured by Indians. 
Eventually she completed the voyage to Para, and thence re- 
joined her husband in Guiana after a separation of over 20 years. 
Her experiences form one of the most remarkable episodes in the 
whole history of travel. 

It was in the closing year of the century that the most famous 
scientific explorer of northern South America, Alexander von 


Humboldt, began his epoch-making journeys, during the course of 
which a flood of new hght was thrown on the physical and human 
geography of the Spanish territories now forming the Republics of 
Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. But the story of these travels 
belongs rather to the nineteenth than to the eighteenth century — 
to the modern period of detailed scientific research rather than to 
the pioneer stage with which we are here mainly concerned. 

24 — 2 



We have seen in the last few chapters how, in the latter part 
of the eighteenth century, vast tracts of land and sea had been for 
the first time added to the known parts of the world, particularly 
in the Pacific and Southern Oceans and in the northern half 
of North America, in both of which regions a beginning of 
scientific exploration and survey had been made. In other 
parts of the world the progress was slower, and though some 
important journeys are to be placed to the credit of this period, 
they were rather of the nature of disconnected episodes than 
stages in a continued course of progress, though to some extent 
preparing the way for the more rapid advance which marked 
the nineteenth century. This quickened activity set in in certain 
regions, it is true, during the latter years of the previous century, 
but as these first beginnings of methodical exploration, particularly 
in Africa, belong more properly to the new period then opening, 
which lies outside the scope of this volume, it will be sufficient 
here to allude to them very briefly. 

I. Asia. 

Beginning with Asia — the more eastern parts of which, as 
explored by the Russians in the far north, and by Jesuit and 
other missionaries within the limits of the Chinese Empire, have 
been already dealt with in previous chapters — one or two im- 
portant journeys in the western and central parts, from the side 
both of Russia and of India, remain to be mentioned. The 
reign of Peter the Great, whose interest in the extension of 
knowledge in the extreme east of his dominions has been spoken 
of in the tenth chapter, saw the first beginnings of Russian 
enterprise in the region to which the name Central Asia has been 


more particularly applied — that of the vast steppes to the east 
of the Caspian and the Khanates of Khiva and Bokhara along 
the course of the Oxus. With a view to curbing the incursions of 
the norpads of the steppes and opening up commercial intercourse 
with the countries beyond, the Czar decided on steps for the 
establishment of Russian influence in this region. In 17 14 a 
young Circassian, who had obtained a commission in the Russian 
army and had taken the name Bekovich Cherkaski, was entrusted 
with an embassy to the Khan of Khiva (who had offered to 
become a vassal of the Czar) and was at the same time instructed 
to carry out explorations in the country to be crossed en route. 
In 17 15, Bekovich embarked on the Caspian, and followed its 
east coast southward until he found a spot suitable for the erection 
of a fort. Thence he went east into the desert and examined the 
old bed of the Amu Darya or Oxus, the Czar being anxious to 
ascertain whether it might be possible to bring back that river 
into its ancient course towards the Caspian. Bekovich returned 
from this expedition and made preparations for a renewal of the 
enterprise with a stronger force. He set out again in 17 17, 
with a small army, numbering about 4000 in all, and this time 
proceeded by land from the mouth of the Ural across the in- 
hospitable Ust Urt desert between the Caspian and the Sea of 
Aral. At the lake known as Barsa Kilmas, near the south end of 
Aral, he built a fort, the remains of which are still to be seen. 
But he soon afterwards met with disaster at the hands of the new 
Khan of Khiva, who viewed the Russian advance with suspicion, 
and taking Bekovich's forces in detail, completely annihilated 
them. Thus ended for a time the attempt to extend the Russian 
dominion in this direction, though before the middle of the 
century a portion of the Kirghiz hordes to the north had accepted 
the rule of the then reigning empress, and the limits of the 
empire were pushed forward to a line running roughly from 
the north end of the Caspian to the head-waters of the Irtish. 

In Siberia, the eighteenth century saw the first acquisition i 
of scientific knowledge, both in the field of geography, and in 1 
those of ethnology and natural history. Between 1720 and | 
1726, extensive journeys were made by the Prussian naturalist j 
Messerschmidt, who had taken service under the Russian Emperor. \ 


Starting in 1720, and spending the first winter at Tobolsk, he 
was joined by the Swedish prisoner PhiHpp Johann Tabbert, 
better known by the name Strahlenberg which he adopted on 
being subsequendy ennobled by the King of Sweden^ The two 
travellers set out in March, 172 1, and explored portions of the 
Obi and Yenesei systems. Strahlenberg then returned to Sweden, 
where in 1730 he brought out a description of the whole of 
Northern Asia, accompanied by a large map, which was long a 
source of information on this part of the world. After his de- 
parture, Messerschmidt descended the Yenesei almost to 66° N., 
but failed to reach the Arctic Ocean. Re-ascending the river 
he started for Eastern Siberia, and having reached Nerchinsk by 
water, crossed the steppes to the mines on the Argun and went 
thence to the Dalai Nor. In 1725 he returned west and explored 
portions of the Obi and Irtish, wintering on the latter river and 
returning to St Petersburg in 1726. His labours meeting with 
scant recognition, he sailed for his home at Danzig, but had the 
misfortune to lose all his collections, and thereupon returned 
once more to St Petersburg. But he still failed to secure due 
recognition, and died in want in that city in 1735. 

Another of the band of Swedes whom fortune carried to 
Siberia after the disastrous campaign of Charles XII was Johann 
Gustaf Renat, whose wanderings, according to documents brought 
to light within recent years, seem to have extended to some of 
the inmost recesses of Asia. He spent some years (1716-1733) 
among the Kalmucks, and learnt much about the geography of 
those regions, partly by enquiry and partly, it seems, by actual 
travel ; some supposing that he even visited Lop Nor. A map 
by his hand, based no doubt to some extent on native infor- 
mation, represents the general features of the central core of 
Asia — Dzungaria, the Tarim basin and neighbouring districts — 
with considerable accuracy, as is shown by the accompanying 
sketch of a contemporary copy by Benzelstiern in 1738^. 

^ The various Swedes who went as prisoners to Siberia at this time had 
been in the retinue of King Charles XII in his ill-fated expedition to Russia. 

^ A facsimile reproduction of the map was published by the Russian 
Geographical Society in 1880 ; another, on a smaller scale, in Petermanns 
Mitteilungen for February, igii. 




The labours of Miiller, Gmelin the elder, and other savants 
employed on land in connection with the great exploring projects 
of Peter the Great have already been touched upon. Later in 
the century, another series of important journeys was undertaken 
under the orders of the Empress Catherine, and led to valuable 
results. It having been decided to despatch a party of astronomers 
to observe the transit of Venus in 1769 — the same which gave 
occasion for the first of Cook's great voyages — the St Petersburg 
Academy was instructed to name various experts capable of 

Renat's Map of Central Asia. 

(From Benzelstiern's copy of 1738.) Outline sketch. 

making a thorough examination of the products and resources 
of the remoter parts of tlie empire. 

Among the savants thus named the best known for the extent 
of his travels and the value of his observations was Peter Simon 
Pallas, who left St Petersburg on June 21, 1768, on a series of 
journeys which was to occupy fully six years. He devoted the 
first two seasons to investigations in South European Russia and 
the region of the Caspian, wintering first at Simbirsk and secondly 


at Ufa. After the first winter he went south, in March, 1769, by 
Samara and Orenburg to Gurief at the mouth of the Ural, whence 
he examined the shores of the Caspian to the south. The 
summer of 1770 was spent in investigations of the geology and 
mineralogy of the Ural range, especially in the mining districts 
near Ekaterinburg. Towards the end of the year he turned his 
steps eastward towards the remoter parts of Siberia, and after 
wintering at Tobolsk made his way in 1771 to the then little- 
known region of the Altai Mountains and the Upper Irtish, where 
he again carried out fruitful researches concerning the structure 
and conformation of the region. Continuing his eastward progress 
he fixed his next winter quarters at Krasnoiarsk, and in March, 
1772, started for Irkhutsk, whence he crossed Lake Baikal and 
visited the frontier town of Kiakhta and the region of the Upper 
Amur. After another winter at Krasnoiarsk, where intense cold 
was experienced, Pallas returned to Europe, devoting the latter 
part of 1773 to further researches in the region of the Lower 
Volga. Finally, after new journeys in the spring of 1774, he 
once more reached St Petersburg on July 30 of that year. 
Besides gathering much new information on the plants and 
animals of the countries visited, he had made valuable obser- 
vations in regard to the origin of mountain ranges, and had carried 
out careful enquiries into the conditions of commercial inter- 
course between the Russian Empire and the territories adjoining 
it on the south. 

Another of the savants employed under the same scheme 
was Samuel Gottlieb (or Theophilus) Gmelin, nephew of the 
elder traveller of that name. He had made the acquaintance of 
Pallas when studying at Leyden, and had subsequently, while at 
Paris, secured the interest of the French botanist Adanson, 
eventually becoming Professor of Botany at St Petersburg. 
Starting on his travels, like Pallas, in June, 1768, he first visited 
the Valdai hills and after wintering at Varonesh made his way 
south to the shores of the Caspian. After a stay at Astrakhan, 
where he met Guldenstaedt, another of the same band of in- 
vestigators, he embarked in June, 1770, on the waters of the 
Caspian. Touching at Derbent and Baku he made his way to 
the Persian province of Ghilan, on the south-western shore of the 


Caspian, where he wintered at Enzeli. In 1771 he continued 
his journey in an easterly direction, parallel to the southern coast 
of the Caspian, and had reached the province of Mazandaran 
when he found it impossible to advance further. Returning 
westward, he reached Barfrush but was thrown into prison 
as a spy. Making his escape, however, he once more reached 
Astrakhan in the spring of 1772, and thence explored the steppes 
to the south. After a meeting with Pallas, who had then com- 
pleted his Siberian journeys, he made a new start in 1773, this 
time taking the route to the east of the Caspian, in the hope 
of continuing his researches in Northern Persia. But the farthest 
point reached was Astrabad, near the northern frontier of that 
kingdom, whence he found himself compelled to retrace his steps 
to the Caspian. Crossing that sea to Enzeli he went by land 
to Derbent (January, 1774), but, difficulties arising with the 
native ruler, he was ordered to leave and started north for the 
Terek. Even so, he failed to elude his enemies, and was thrown 
into prison at Ahmetkent in the Caucasus, where he died of 
disease in June of the same year. His notes were afterwards 
published under Pallas's supervision, and the results of his journeys 
were thus not entirely lost. They consisted chiefly in an improved 
knowledge of the steppes on both sides of the Caspian and of 
the wandering hordes inhabiting them, as well as of the moun- 
tainous regions of Northern Persia, then almost a terra incognita 
in Europe. 

Meanwhile the neighbouring and equally obscure region of 
the Caucasus had been explored, apart from its snowy central 
fastnesses, by a third member of the same association of experts — 
Johann Anton Guldenstaedt — a native of Riga, who after com- 
pleting his education at Berlin and Frankfort-on-Oder was sum- 
moned to St Petersburg to take his part in the great exploration. 
Having wintered at Moscow, he set out for the south in March, 
1769. At Astrakhan, as already mentioned, he met Gmelin, and 
in January, 1771, he reached the Terek, on the threshold of the 
region assigned to him as his field of work. During the next two 
years, he traversed the Caucasus in various directions, making 
observations on the natural history, and on the languages of the 
peoples inhabiting that region. During the first season he 


attached himself to the suite of the Prince of Georgia (south of 
the main chain), and thus visited Tiflis and the districts to the 
south of that town. In 1772 he visited the petty kingdom of 
Imeritia, still south of the range, but west of Georgia, near the 
shores of the Black Sea. Thence he crossed the range and 
devoted the next year to researches in the region to the north 
of the Elburz group, including the district of Great Kabarda and 
the country watered by the Kuma River. Turning his steps home- 
wards, he investigated the region of the Lower Don and other 
parts of Southern Russia, and was on his way to the Crimea 
when he was recalled to St Petersburg on the outbreak of war, 
arriving there in March of 1773. The preparation of his material 
for publication occupied some years, and he was carried off by 
fever before any of the results of his journeys saw the light. 
They were, however, eventually published, first by Pallas, and 
subsequently in a corrected form by the Prussian savant Klap- 
roth, himself an explorer of the Caucasus early in the next 

Another of the same fraternity was the Swedish physician 
John Peter Falk, who after taking his degree at the University 
of Upsala, became Professor at St Petersburg, and received a 
commission to travel in Siberia in 1768. In 1771-72 he studied 
the countries watered by the Obi and Irtish, but suffering from 
ever-increasing hypochondria, was forced to relinquish his task, 
and in 1774 committed suicide. By these several explorations a 
large amount of new information was gained on the detailed 
geography of the Russian Empire in Asia, though as a general 
knowledge of its outstanding features had been acquired pre- 
viously, no striking discovery on a large scale was possible. 

From the side of India some advance was also made into the 
central core of the continent in the latter part of the eighteenth 
century, though here too the field was not entirely new, for the inter- 
course with Lhasa maintained by the various missions in the seven- 
teenth and early eighteenth centuries had already spread some 
knowledge of Tibet among European nations. But until the time 
we are speaking of no share in the work had been claimed by 
Englishmen. It was under the enlightened administration of 


Warren Hastings that the first British dealings with Tibet took 
place. The immediate impulse to this intercourse arose from the 
encroachments of the ruler of Bhutan — the semi-independent state 
occupying the eastern part of the Himalayan range — who in 1772 
invaded the small state of Kuch Behar to the north of Bengal. 
Military operations under Captain John Jones, carried out in 
1772-73, resulted in the expulsion of the Bhutanese, followed by 
the intervention, as peacemaker, of the Te^hu (or Tashi) Lama — 
the head of one of the principal sects in Tibet. This led to 
the organisation of a British mission, which was instituted to 
carry on negotiations both with the Oeb Raja (the ruler of 
Bhutan) and with the Tashi Lama, whose residence was at 
Tashi Lhunpo on the south side of the valley of the Sanpo or 
upper Brahmaputra. The head of the mission was George Bogle, 
an energetic and capable member of the Bengal civil service, 
who was supported by Dr Alexander Hamilton, also a man of 
considerable ability. The expedition set out in May, 1774, pro- 
ceeding through Kuch Behar and entering Bhutan by the Buxa 
Duar route. At Tassisudon, the capital, negotiations with the 
new Deb Raja were entered upon, and though difficulties were 
at first put in the way of an advance into Tibet, permission was 
at last given for the mission to proceed. The route led by Pari 
Jong (near the head of the Chumbi valley between Bhutan and 
Sikkim) and thence nearly due north until the valley of the Sanpo 
or upper Brahmaputra was reached. The Tashi Lama was at 
the time at a place called Desheripge to the north of that river, 
and thither the mission proceeded. Bogle succeeded in establish- 
ing most cordial relations with the Lama, who showed himself 
well disposed to further the Governor-General's views of friendly 
intercourse between India and Tibet. 

A counter-influence was, however, at work at Lhasa, where the 
Chinese agent did all he could to put obstacles in the way, and 
this to some extent neutralised the efforts of the mission, a firm 
refusal being given to the further entry of foreigners into Tibet. 
Bogle returned with the Lama to his residence at Tashi Lhunpo, 
on the southern side of the Sanpo valley, and, after some stay 
there, set out oh the return journey through Bhutan, where further 
negotiations resulted in the Deb Raja's consenting to the passage 


of merchandise through his country to and from India and Tibet, 
though all efforts to obtain permission for English merchants to 
|kter the country proved unavailing. 

^^■In 1775 Bogle's companion, Dr Hamilton, was entrusted with 
^Hfecond mission to Bhutan, for the purpose of discussing further 
^questions between the two countries, and, entering again by 
the Buxa Duar routeAas the^horter route by Lakhi Duar proved 
not feasible), visite^Bie JaB Raja at his winter residence at 
Punakha. He returSd in 1776 and was sent in 1777 on a third 
mission to offer the Governor-General's compliments to a new 
Deb Raja. In 1779, a new attempt to gain entrance into Tibet 
was organised, and Bogle was again appointed to lead an ex- 
pedition, but this was abandoned on receipt of intelligence that the 
Tashi Lama had undertaken a journey to Peking. He died there 
before the close of 1780, Bogle himself also dying less than six 
months later. 

The Governor-General, however, still kept his object in view, 
and in 1782 decided to send yet another mission to Tibet, the 
occasion being offered by the supposed re-incarnation of the 
Tashi Lama, who, according to the customary belief of the 
Tibetans, was thought to have returned to this world in the person 
of an infant. A young ofiGicer related to Warren Hastings — 
Captain Samuel Turner — was placed in command, two other 
Europeans, Lieutenant Samuel Davis and Dr Robert Saunders, 
being appointed to accompany him. The mission, like Bogle's, 
proceeded first to Bhutan, and the Raja's summer palace at 
Tassisudon was reached in June, 1783. An insurrection against 
the Raja caused some delay, but, this having been put down, 
Turner and his companions paid a visit to the winter palace at 
Punakha, as well as to the fort of Wandipore lower down the 
valley in which Punakha is placed. Resuming their journey to 
Tibet, they reached Tashi Lhunpo on Sept. 22 and stayed there 
some time, holding intercourse with the Regent — a brother of 
the late Tashi Lama. Early in December, Turner visited the 
infant Tashi Lama at a monastery two days' journey to the 
south, and then set out homewards, passing once more through 
Bhutan and reaching Patna in March, 1784. 

The observations made by Bogle and Turner during these 




missions added much to the knowledge of Bhutan and Tibet 
possessed by the English, although it was not till nearly a century 
later that Bogle's journals and notes were made generally availal 
by being printed under the care of Sir Clements Marliham 
removal of Warren Hastings from the head of affairs in India 
1785, brought this intercourse to a close, and with the exception 
of a single episode early in the nin|teenth^ntury, when Thomas 
Manning — Charles Lamb's friend^Jiade^^s way to Lhasa in 




View of Punakha. 

(Sketch by Lieutenant Davis in Turner's Embassy.) 

an unofficial capacity, no further advance was made towards the 
opening of Central Tibet till the beginning of the present century. 

From one other corner of Asia we have to record the beginning 
of scientific research before the close of the eighteenth century, 
namely from Yemen in South-West Arabia — one of the original 
homes of the coffee shrub, whence some trade in coffee had 
already been developed by Dutch and English merchants trading 
to the East. As the one productive portion of the vast peninsula 


of Arabia, it was natural that it should early attract the attention 
of investigators. The work to be done here was not strictly of 
a pioneer character, for Yemen had several times previously been 
visited by European travellers, from Varthema, in the quite early 
days of European intercourse with the East, to Englishmen like 
Sharpeigh, Middleton, and Jourdain, of the early voyages of the 
English East India Company. The work now taken in hand was 
therefore of a more detailed and scientific character, attention 
being directed to such matters as the natural resources — 
especially botanical — of the country, the economic conditions of 
the people, and the fixing of positions with the degree of accuracy 
attainable by the methods and instruments of the time. 

Like the Russian enterprises already spoken of, the scheme 
for exploration in Arabia had the advantage of Royal patronage. 
The enlightened monarch who supported it, and who himself 
drew up the instructions for the participants, was Frederick V of 
Denmark, to whom it seems to have been suggested by the learned 
Michaelis of Gottingen, principally with a view to the elucidation 
of Biblical questions. Five savants were appointed to take part 
in the expedition, each an expert in some particular branch of 
research — viz. Peter Forskall, a Swede (as botanist), Frederick 
von Haven (linguist), Carsten Niebuhr (surveyor), C. C. Cramer 
(zoologist), and W. Baurenfeind (artist) — no one of these taking a 
decided precedence over the rest. A Danish ship of war was 
placed at their disposal, and the party, having sailed early in 1761, 
and having visited Constantinople and Egypt, proceeded in the 
autumn of 1762 in a pilgrim ship to Jidda, on the Arabian coast 
of the Red Sea. The fanatical hatred of Europeans which has 
been as a rule one of the greatest obstacles to the exploration of 
Arabia, was little in evidence at this particular time, and the 
travellers found no great difficulties placed in their way. From 
Jidda they coasted down to Loheia, and there began their more 
special labours by carrying out excursions through the Tehama, a 
lowland strip intervening between the Yemen highlands and the 
Red Sea ; touching also on the outer fringe of the higher ground. 
Little by little they made their way south and reached Mokha 
before the end of April, 1763. They had been travelling in the 
hot weather and their health had suffered seriously. Von Haven 




was the first to succumb, and was buried at Mokha, the rest 
then deciding to move inland away from the unhealthy coast- 
lands. They went first to Tais, on the outer step of the highlands, 
and were summoned thence by the Imam to Sana, the capital of 
Yemen. Before reaching this a second of the party, Forskall, fell 
a victim to the climate. At Sana, which was reached about the 
middle of July, the three survivors were well received, and during 
their short stay were able — particularly Niebuhr — to make some 
useful observations. They were now impatient to leave the 

Carsten Niebuhr. 
(From the portrait in his Reiseheschreibung, Vol. ill, 1837.) 

country and hastened back to Beit-el-Fakih (the chief coffee-mart) 
and thence to Mokha, where they found a friend in an EngKsh 
merchant, Francis Scott, who gave them a passage to Bombay. 
On the way Baurenfeind died, and Cramer too succumbed after 
reaching India. The one survivor, Niebuhr, returned home by 
the Persian Gulf, Persia, and Asiatic Turkey, taking with him 
the copious notes and observations secured by himself and 
his colleagues, all of which were eventually utilised in the 


preparation of his great Description of Arabia — one of the most 
important geographical works produced during the eighteenth 
century, embodying not only the results of actual observation in 
regard to Yemen, but a fund of information which Niebuhr had 
been at pains to gather from the natives of the country and others. 
It long remained the standard authority on Arabia, and has not 
been entirely superseded at the present day. 

No further progress in the exploration of Arabia took place 
until the next century. 

II. Africa. 

In Africa the eighteenth century was, broadly speaking, a 
period of stagnation as regards geographical discovery until its 
closing years, when a new start, destined to lead to almost un- 
interrupted progress down to our own times, was made. And 
though the beginnings of this movement fell within the period 
now under consideration, they were so closely interwoven with 
later developments that they cannot suitably be described here. 
Less closely connected with the modern period was the famous 
journey of the Scottish traveller, James Bruce, through Abyssinia 
to the source of the Blue Nile, but this forms a more or less 
isolated episode, somewhat in advance of its time, and httle in 
touch with the work of the century as a whole. As a bold 
achievement, marking the first important step towards the British 
exploration of the African interior, Bruce's journey occupies a 
high place, though its actual results from a geographical point of 
view have sometimes been overrated — just as they were under- 
rated by many of the traveller's contemporaries. They were 
rather a re-opening to European view of ground that had been 
temporarily neglected than an actual unveiling of the unknown. 
As has been narrated in an earlier chapter, the work of the 
Portuguese Jesuits in the seventeenth century, and the relations 
sent home by them to their superiors in Europe, had at the time 
made Abyssinia almost the best known part of the African 
interior, and the maps drawn in that century were not materially 
to be improved upon until quite modern times. Bruce was him- 
self aware of the labours of the Jesuits, and, in particular, of 


the travels and writings of Paez — the first white man to visit and 
describe the source of the Blue Nile. But in his own narrative he 
somewhat unfairly disparaged the work of his predecessors, with the 
conscious or unconscious object of heightening the value of his 
own achievements. He has been accused of actual dishonesty 
in denying that the Jesuits had ever reached the sources, and it 
seems almost certain that he might, had he taken the trouble, 
have* made himself better acquainted with what had previously 
been accomplished. But considering the strenuous fight against 
difficulties of all kinds that he maintained in his efforts to grasp 
the coveted prize, there can hardly be a doubt that, at least at 
the time of the journey, he honestly believed that he was the first 
white man to have traced the Blue Nile to its source. The far 
greater remoteness of the source of the White Nile was then 
hardly suspected, the reaction against the earlier hypothetic 
cartography of the African interior, encouraged by the work of 
Delisle and D'Anville in France, having swept from the map the 
representations of the Upper Nile lakes based on the inter- 
pretation of Ptolemy's geographical account by the cartographers 
of the Renaissance. 

After engaging for a time in the wine trade, Bruce had suc- 
ceeded to his father's estate of Kinnaird, Stirlingshire, in 1758. 
He had a natural bent towards travel and adventure, and, the 
problem of the Nile sources having been a subject of discussion 
with his friends, became fired with the ambition of solving it 
himself. As a step likely to open possibilities in the desired 
direction he in 1763 accepted the post of Consul-Gen eral at 
Algiers, and on leaving for that destination took with him various 
scientific instruments, in the use of which he had acquired some 
proficiency, for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus 
then looked forward to by astronomers. He had also acquired 
some slight knowledge of medicine — a qualification which proved 
of much use during his travels. After some residence in Algiers, 
he visited various parts of North Africa, examining the anti- 
quarian remains, and on one occasion narrowly escaped with 
his life from a shipwreck on the coast of Tripoli. Passing over 
to Crete and Asia Minor he eventually made his way to Syria 
(where he visited the ruins at Palmyra and Baalbek) and thence 

H. 25 


to Egypt, hoping there to find the means of carrying his great 
design into execution, his correspondents in Europe having now 
despatched to Alexandria the last of the instruments necessary for 
the fixing of positions on his proposed journey. 

James Bruce. (From the Portrait in the National Gallery.) 

At Cairo, Bruce secured the countenance of Ali Bey, lately 
restored to power after many vicissitudes of fortune, and obtained 
letters of recommendation to the authorities in Upper Egypt, 
as also from the Greek patriarch to the Greek Christians in 


Abyssinia. Having completed his preparations he procured a 
Nile boat of the kind known as canja, and set out to ascend the 
river on December 12, 1768. A successful voyage, during which 
he noted the various antiquities passed en route, brought him to 
Syene (Assuan), whence, after fixing the latitude and visiting the 
first cataract, he returned to Keneh in order to take the desert 
route to the Red Sea at Kosseir. This journey was made in 
company with a mixed and disorderly caravan. At Kosseir, 
besides fixing the latitude, he obtained a longitude by observations 
of Jupiter's satellites, and, after a coasting trip to the "Mountain 
of Emeralds '' (without finding any trace of these gems), hired 
a vessel to convey him down the Red Sea to Massaua, the final 
starting-point for the journey into the interior. 

The voyage in this native craft was by no means a luxurious 
one. It began with a circuit of the northern end of the Red Sea, 
and a visit to Tor on the south-west coast of the Sinai peninsula, 
after which the vessel coasted down the Arabian side, touching at 
various points en route. At Jidda Bruce found a number of 
English merchantmen, and though his poverty-stricken appearance 
secured him but a doubtful reception at first, the merchants 
made up for the mistake, and on leaving he was honoured with 
a salute from all the ships. During his stay he obtained valuable 
letters of recommendation from the Sharif of Mecca, and from 
his chief Minister, Metical Aga — himself a native of Abyssinia, 
and a man of considerable influence on both sides of the Red 
Sea. The support of this ally proved invaluable in the sequel. 
From Loheia, further down the coast — after a trip to the Strait of 
Bab-el-Mandeb — the voyagers crossed over by the Dhalak archi- 
pelago to Massaua on the African side of the Red Sea, the 
passage being signalised by the supposed appearance of a ghost 
on board, by which the crew were much terrified, and by the 
running of the vessel on a reef, from which however it was 
happily got off without serious damage. Massaua was reached 
on September 19, 1769, and Bruce thus found himself on the 
threshold of the most serious part of his enterprise. 

In the further prosecution of his task Bruce was faced by many 
obstacles. The rapacious and overbearing character of the petty 
chief of Massaua more than once threatened a catastrophe, and 



the difficulties were by no means over when he was at last fairly 
started for Gondar. The steep ascents of the plateau escarp- 
ments, first by the pass of '^ranta to. the highlands of Tigre, and 
afterwards by that of Lamalmon to the still higher plateau on 
which Gondar is placed, were exceedingly arduous, the transport 
of the large quadrant for astronomical work proving especially 
troublesome. As the strongest of the party the traveller took 
a personal share in the labour. The country too was in a dis- 
turbed state owing to the campaign then in progress between the 
old General Ras Michael (acting on behalf of the young King 
Tecla Haimanout, whom he had set up after deposing two others) 
and the- insurgent Fasil. Arrived in safety at the capital, Bruce 
was favourably received by the Queen-mother, and his services aS' 
physician were soon requisitioned, several members of the Royal 
household being ill with small-pox. The success of his treat- 
ment procured him her patronage throughout his stay in Abyssinia. 
On the return of the King and Ras Michael, he was received 
in audience, and, according to his own account, as a step towards 
the execution of his task, was granted the governorship of the 
province of Ras-el-Fil, containing the source of the Blue Nile of 
which he was in quest. But a favourable opportunity for 
travelling thither was long in coming. The traveller's health 
declined, and he retired for a time to Emfras, on a hill over- 
looking Lake Tsana, whence he paid a visit to the cataract of 
Alata — on the Blue Nile below its exit from the lake — which had 
already been described by the Jesuits. He afterwards joined the 
King and Ras Michael during an expedition across the. Nile 
against Fasil, but this proved disastrous and ended in a disorderly 
retreat. By a sudden volte-face, however, Fasil made his peace 
with the King, and this gave the traveller the chance he had been 
waiting for so long, as the insurgent chief dominated the country 
about, the Nile source. After witnessing the retirement of the 
King and Michael to Tigre, he set out once more from Gondar on 
October 28, 1770, proceeding at once to Fasil's camp with letters of 
recommendation. His reception was at first anything but satis- 
factory, but his bold front impressed the chief, who became 
suddenly gracious, and gave him the facilities he required, binding 
his Galla subordinates by a solemn obligation to forward the 


traveller's wishes in every possible way, and giving him his own 
horse as a token of his protection. 

Starting on November 2, and passing through a beautiful 
country, Bruce once more crossed the Nile above its entrance 
into Lake Tsana, finding it a rapid stream nearly 100 yards wide, 
and four feet deep in the centre. It forms a cataract in this 
neighbourhood, but this was found to have a height of barely 
15 feet. The route now led towards a gently rising hill, near the 
top of which was the church of St Michael of Geesh. From this 
spot the traveller's eyes were at last gratified by the sight of the 
fountains, whence, beside a hillock of green sod, the Blue Nile 
has its first small beginnings. Casting off his shoes in deference 
to the feelings of the natives, who regarded the spot as possessing 
a special sanctity, he rushed down the flowery slope and, standing 
by the principal fountain, indulged the feelings of rapture induced 
by the thought that he had at last gained the prize for which he 
had laboured so long. 

Bruce flattered himself that he had thus solved the ancient 
mystery of the Nile sources, though on the one hand he was not 
the first European to visit the fountains of the Blue Nile, and on 
the other he had done nothing at all to unveil the far more remote 
sources of the White Nile. But in once more describing to the 
world the hydrography of a portion of the Nile system which 
plays a part of prime importance in the general regime of the river 
and its inundations, he had performed a service of distinct value, 
if not of the unique importance he was inclined to claim for it. 
Now that his task was accomplished his one wish was to set out 
on his homeward journey, but on returning to Gondar he found 
himself condemned to weary waiting owing to the continued 
political disturbances. At last, in December, 177 1, over a year 
after his return from the Nile source, he was able to set out by 
the land-route to Egypt through Sennar. 

Descending the western escarpment of the Abyssinian high- 
land, through a thickly wooded country, the traveller joined in 
a grand battue held by one of the royal princes, and was treated 
to a display of the methods of elephant-hunting of the Arab 
swordsmen known as Agagir. Reaching Sennar after some 
adventures, he found himself surrounded by enemies, whose 


intrigues thwarted him at every turn, and it was only by selling 
a good part of the gold chain given him by the Abyssinian king 
that he at last procured the means of continuing his journey. 
The passage of the dreaded Nubian desert proved well-nigh 
disastrous, the small party coming near suffocation by the parching 
simoom, being overwhelmed by moving pillars of sand, or perishing 
of thirst after the water-supply had given out. They struggled 
into Assuan (Syene) after abandoning most of their impedimenta, 
but by sending back a party Bruce was able to rescue the precious 
notes and observations made during his extensive journeyings. 
The further journey to Cairo was accomplished without serious 
difficulty, the Egyptian capital being reached on January 10, 


Although Bruce had made few if any positive geographical 

discoveries, his journey was important, by reason of the general 

attention it attracted in Europe, as a stimulus to further interest 

in African exploration, to be seriously taken in hand not many 

years later. And his narrative, published some time after his 

return, in spite of occasional exaggerations and embellishments, 

has remained one of the most striking pictures of exploration 

that have come down to us. The strangeness of some of the 

details caused the whole, quite undeservedly, to be viewed with 

suspicion by his contemporaries, whose verdict has however been 

reversed by later generations. The five bulky volumes in which 

it originally appeared embody, if in somewhat undigested form, 

a large amount of information on the history and manners of the 

Abyssinians, as well as on the geography of their country. 

The only other part of Africa where exploration made any 
great headway during the eighteenth century was the extreme 
south. Here, after long forming merely a port of call for 
Portuguese, English, and Dutch ships en route for the East 
Indies, the Cape had at last begun to be settled by the Dutch 
about the middle of the previous century, farms being established 
for the supply of provisions to the ships. The arrival of the 
French Huguenots in 1688 had an important effect in necessi- 
tating the occupation of new land, while the desire to escape the 
exactions of the Dutch East India Company's officials led the: 


" burghers " (as the settlers were termed in distinction from the 
officials) to push farther afield than at first. Even in the seven- 
teenth century some attention had been paid to exploration pure 
and simple. In 1655 Jan Wintervogel had carried out an ex- 
pedition to the north, and the work was continued by Gabbema 
and others in 1657-8, In 1660 the governor Van Riebeck sent 
out a party to seek for the empire of Monomotapa, which previous 
maps had so misplaced as to encourage the belief that it lay at no 
great distance from the Cape. The expedition, which was headed 
by Jan Danckert, passed the Olifants River, but returned without 
advancing any great distance beyond. A somewhat greater 
advance northward was made in 1661 by two parties under 
Pieter Cruythof and Pieter van Meerhof, and both of these went 
on a second expedition in 1662, during the course of which they 
came upon representatives of the Bushmen — that wandering race 
from whose treacherous attacks the colonists had afterwards to 
suffer so much. Another noteworthy expedition was that of 
Lieutenant Hieronymus Cruse, eastward to Mossel Bay, in 1668. 
But the most famous journey was that of the governor Simon 
van der Stell in 1685. It occupied five months and the European 
personnel amounted to over 50, with native followers in proportion. 
The principal object was the discovery of the copper district of 
Little Namaqualand, which it succeeded in reaching, returning 
by a different route along the west coast. 

In spite of these efforts, the greater part of the South African 
interior, even south of the Orange River, remained virtually unknown 
at the opening of the new century, during the course of which 
a more decided advance was to be made. 

Quite early in the eighteenth century some attention was 
turned to the south-east coast, as offering a possible field for 
settlement, and especially for the supply of timber to the more 
sparsely-wooded west. An expedition was sent to Natal by sea 
in 1705 in the Postlooper, with Theunis van der Schelling as 
master, but it accomplished little. In 1720 a Dutch fort was 
established on the coast of Delagoa Bay, which had been 
abandoned by the Portuguese some years before. The bay was 
sounded and charted, and some attempt made to explore the 
neighbourhood, but the settlers had to encounter many obstacles. 


In the hope of finding a way to the reported gold fields of the 
interior, an expedition under one Jan Mona started inland in 
1725, but it was attacked by the natives and forced to return 
without penetrating any great distance. Of land expeditions 
from the Cape during the early part of the century one deserving 
mention is that of Hermanus Hubner, who in 1736 led a strong 
party of elephant-hunters eastward towards the Kafir country on 
the south-east coast. It was important as one of the first which 
brought the Dutch into contact with the Bantu tribes of the east, 
their previous intercourse having been almost entirely with the 
Hottentots. The party seems to have reached the lands of the 
Xosas, Tembus, and Pondos^ by whom they were at first received 
with friendliness, but on reaching the Xosas on the return journey 
a treacherous attack was made on Hubner's section of the 
expedition, and he and all with him were massacred, and the 
waggons burnt. The rest, though pursued, succeeded in making 
their escape, and on reaching Cape Town gave the authorities an 
account of their journey. 

Although this expedition had advanced farther east than any 
previous one, it was of an unofficial character, and the geographical 
information it brought back was far from precise. But under the 
energetic administration of Governor Tulbagh, which began in 
1651, exploration was more actively supported by the govern- 
ment, and some important results were gained. An elaborately 
organised expedition was despatched eastward early in 1752 
under August Frederik Beutler, supported by an escort of 
soldiers, as well as by two surveyors, a botanist, various artificers, 
and others. It was in all respects the best-equipped expedition 
that had left the Cape down to that time. The Gouritz River was 
crossed, Mossel Bay passed, and on April 5 the last settlement 
towards the east, a short distance beyond the Little Brak River, 
was reached. Crossing the mountains, the expedition traversed 
the valley known as the Long Kloof, running east between two 
ranges, and reached the sea at the present St Francis Bay. The 
party now kept more or less close to the sea, examining the 
shores of Algoa Bay and crossing the Great Fish and other rivers. 

' The last are spoken of as " Nomotis.'' Among them three Englishmen 
were found living like natives. 


Early in June, the boundary between the Hottentots and Bantu, 
at the Keiskama River, was passed, and the country became more 
thickly peopled. The scene of Hubner's massacre was passed, 
but the force was sufficiently strong to command respect. The 
Kei was crossed on July 3, and friendly intercourse established 
with the Tembu chief Tzeba. The fatigues experienced now 
began to tell, both on the men and the oxen, so after advancing 
a few days longer in a north-easterly direction, it was decided, on 
July 10, to turn back. 

During the return journey, a somewhat more inland route was 
adopted, for a part of the way, than on the outward march, 
and some new country, inhabited by Bushmen, was passed 
through. The Fish River valley was ascended for some distance, 
but the country here was suffering from a severe drought, and 
both grass and trees were burnt up. The explorers therefore 
turned once more towards the sea, and while some took a 
direct route to the Cape, the leader, according to instructions, 
endeavoured to find a bay reported to exist in the neighbourhood 
where Knysna lagoon has since been found. He did not reach 
its shores, but gave up the attempt and was back in Cape Town 
early in November. 

This achievement marks the farthest advance eastward for 
many years, and subsequent efforts were for some time directed 
rather to the north and north-east. It is not certain when the 
largest South African river — the Orange — was first reached, but 
at any rate it seems to have been first crossed in 1760, by a 
settler named Jacobus Coetsee, who went north with a party 
of Hottentots to hunt elephants, and gained intelligence of the 
black-skinned Damaras ("Damroquas," as he heard them called) 
some distance beyond his turning-point. This adventure led the 
way to further advance in the same direction, for, Coetsee's story 
having come to the ears of a militia officer, Hendrik Hop, the 
latter made a successful application for the command of an 
exploring expedition, which included the surveyor Brink, the 
botanist Auge and the surgeon Rykvoet, the last also taking 
charge of the mineralogical work. A start was made on August 16, 
1 761, from a point near the mouth of the Olifants River, the 
whole caravan numbering over 80 persons, including 13 who 


accompanied the party as settlers. Passing the Copper Mountains, 
visited by the great expedition of Van der Stell in 1685, the 
expedition reached the Orange River at the end of September, 
and, crossing it, held on a northerly course between 18° and 
19° E. long, and reached a point probably in about S. lat. 26°. 
The heat and scarcity of water then' made it necessary to turn 
back, and some time was spent on the banks of the Orange, 
where a sudden flood during the night of January 11, 1762, 
placed the party in some danger. While among the "Great" 
Namaquas north of the river enquiries were made as to the 
peoples of the region beyond, and intelligence seems to have 
been gained, under the name " Briquas," of a section of the great 
Bechuana tribe. Giraffes were seen to the north of the Orange, 
and the skin of one was brought back ^ The expedition was 
back in April, having achieved a considerable measure of 

The expedition of Governor Van Plettenberg to the north- 
east and east in 1778 had political rather than geographical 
aims, though it led through some of the less-known border districts 
in the directions specified. The next important contributions to 
geographical knowledge were due to British travellers — Captain 
(afterwards Colonel) Robert J. Gordon, a Scottish officer who had 
taken service with the Dutch, and Lieutenant WiUiam Paterson, 
who came to the Cape in order to satisfy his bent for travel and 
natural history studies in a new country. Their journeys were 
made partly in company, though some of the more important 
results were due to Gordon alone. Both arrived at the Cape 
during 1777 — Gordon (who, according to Paterson, had already 
travelled a good deal in the interior) as second in command 
of the Cape garrison. They left Cape Town in company on 
October 6, and went somewhat north of east up the valley of the 
(eastern) Olifants River — the upper course of the Gouritz. Arrived 
near its source, Paterson, who was suffering from ill-health, decided 
to stay behind, while Gordon proceeded north-east, through the 
Bushmen's country, towards the Sneeuwberg. In this, as in his 
subsequent journeys, Paterson paid especial attention to the 

1 It was sent to the Museum at Leyden by the Governor, and was the first 
to find its way to Europe. 




botany, getting together a valuable collection of South African 
plants, but also securing specimens of the birds, etc. Gordon 
crossed the Sneeuwberg and reached the Orange River near the 
junction of its upper course with the second main branch — the 
Vaal — which he seems to have been the first to locate on the map. 
He was unable, however, to find a ford, and so returned without 
crossing to the northern bank. 

Paterson set out again in May, 1778, and this time had the 
company of a young Dutch gentleman, Mr Van Reenen, member 
of a family which owned several farms in the interior, and which 
subsequently showed considerable enterprise in the way of ex- 

Paterson's routes in South Africa, 1777-79. (Outline sketch of 
the map in his Narrative of Four Journeys, etc. ) 

ploration. The two travellers experienced some difficulty from 
the snow-covering of the mountains, but by making a circuit to 
the east across the Karroo reached the Roggeveld, and then went 
somewhat west of north till they struck the Orange in its lower 
course, after experiencing a trying time in crossing the sandy 
desert south of it. They crossed the river by swimming, and 
Paterson, besides engaging in his usual botanical researches, 
secured a number of beautiful birds, while Mr Van Reenen shot 
a giraffe. The return was in a generally southward direction 
through the copper district already well known to the Dutch, 
Cape Town being reached on November 20. A month later 


Paterson again set out, intending now to visit the Kafir country 
on the extreme eastern borders of the Colony. He was again 
accompanied by Van Reenen, and succeeded in advancing some 
distance beyond the Great Fish River, though the waggon could 
not be taken on during the last stages owing to the thickness 
of the bush. Paterson claims to have been the first European 
to have penetrated into the Kafir country, meaning, no doubt, 
the first of European birth, as the colonists had already gone a 
good deal beyond his turning-point^. The return journey calls 
for no special remark. 

After three months, i.e. towards the end of June, 1779, 
Paterson was ready to set out again accompanied by Sebastiaan 
Van Reenen '^j a brother of whom. Jacobus by name, subsequently 
joined the party too. This fourth journey led nearly due north 
and was made for the most part in company with Colonel Gordon 
(as he now was), whom Paterson joined on the banks of the 
Green River, near the Kamisberg. The usual difficulties from 
want of water and grass were encountered, and various members 
of the party had unpleasant experiences through losing their way 
in the desert, but they came safely through in the end. The 
Orange River was at last reached on August 17, the unwonted 
greenery and abundant water-supply making it seem to the 
travellers a new creation after their nine days' transit across an arid 
and sultry desert. Colonel Gordon had brought a boat, which 
he launched the same evening at the river's mouth, hoisting Dutch 
colours and giving the river the name which it has since generally 
borne in Europe, in honour of the Prince of Orange. Excursions 
were made in the neighbourhood, and on the 25th the party 
set out eastwards, ascending the valley of the Orange for some 
distance through a barren hilly country. On the 29th they 
left the river, returning southward to recruit at a Dutch homestead, 

1 Dr Andrew Sparrman, the Swedish naturalist who accompanied Capt. 
Cook during the first voyage of the Resolution, had also, visited the borders of 
Kafir-land, and his general account of his South African travels, before and 
after that voyage (1772 and 1775-6), forms one of the most important items in 
the literature of South African travel in the eighteenth century, though he did 
little actual exploration. 

^ It does not appear from Paterson's narrative whether this was the same 
member of the family as had been his companion previously. 

XV] ASIA, AFRICA, AND ARCTIC, 170O-1800 397 

but again going north to examine a part of the river above that 
previously visited. Paterson and Gordon soon separated, the 
latter going east, while Paterson and Van Reenen crossed the 
Orange and went north-east, through a country still barren and 
hilly, in which a specimen of the giraffe was secured. On 
October 21 they re-crossed the river, and Paterson made the 
homeward journey in leisurely fashion, investigating the botany 
of the country. He was back at Cape Town on December 21. 

By these several journeys a fair general knowledge of the 
lower course of the Orange, for a considerable distance from the 
sea, had been gained. 

Another traveller from Europe — the French naturalist Le 
Vaillant — visited the Cape the year after the journey just de- 
scribed, and travelled extensively in the interior. He made a 
first journey in 1780-82, visiting the borders of the Kafir country 
and returning from the Sneeuwberg across the Great Karroo ; 
and a second in 1783-85, during which he went north across the 
Lower Orange^. His graphic narratives are perhaps the best 
known of all the similar works on South Africa which appeared 
during the eighteenth century, but they have been generally re- 
garded as not entirely trustworthy in matters of detail. The 
Dutch, whose exploring activity (if we except the work of Colonel 
Gordon, a Scotsman by birth) had been somewhat in abeyance 
during the 'seventies and 'eighties, again showed some enterprise 
during the last decade of the century. One of the Van Reenens, 
Willem by name, who owned a farm on the Olifants River, came 
forward in 1791 and undertook an expedition to the north with a 
view of testing the truth of the idea that gold was to be found in 
the desert region north of the Orange River. With several Dutch 
companions, including one Pieter Brand, he started in September, 
1791, crossed the Orange in November, and pushed on beyond 

1 In the map accompanying Le Vaillant's narrative of his travels, the 
distances traversed were greatly exaggerated. Thus the route followed on the 
first journey is extended to the neighbourhood of Natal, and that on the 
second to the tropic of Capricorn, though Barrow (see below) showed reason 
for believing that he had not advanced beyond the Orange River. Not 
content with finding many new species of birds, Le Vaillant brought back a 
number of "faked" species— tail of one kind, wings of another, etc. Many of 
these were found out long after- his death on being remounted. 


the farthest point reached by Hop 30 years earlier. At a mountain 
occupied by Namaqua Hottentots, with whom a collision took 
place, a camp was formed, and exploring trips in the surrounding 
country were undertaken. The mountain, which Van Reenen 
named Rhenius after the then Governor at the Cape, seems to 
have been somewhere near the latitude of Walvisch Bay. Brand 
went 15 days farther north, through country occupied by a 
branch of the Damaras (dark-skinned Bantu people) who had 
been subjected by the Naraaquas, and seems to have met with 
representatives of the wild tribe since known as Hill Damaras. 
The camp at Mount Rhenius was shifted in March, 1792, but a 
further halt of some weeks was made not far off, in a locality 
where game was abundant. The waggons having been loaded 
with ore — in reality copper, but thought at the time to contain 
gold — the return march was begun, and, further investigations 
having been made on the way, Van Reenen's farm was safely 
reached in June, 1792. 

This expedition had done more than any previous one to 
throw light on the country and peoples north of the Orange River, 
but, not content with what they had accomplished, the Van 
Reenens applied to the authorities for aid in a new venture. 
Two of the family, Sebastiaan and Dirk Gijsbert van Reenen, 
obtained a passage in the government vessel Meermin, com- 
missioned to take possession, on behalf of the Dutch East India 
Company, of various points on the coast of Great Namaqua- 
land, north of the Orange — a coast hitherto unclaimed, though 
for some time frequented by whalers. Before the Meermin sailed, 
a land party had been despatched under Barend Freyn, who had 
taken part in Willem van Reenen's expedition, and had heard of 
the existence of a friendly Hottentot chief named Ynemand. He 
set out before the end of 1792 with orders to try to reach this 
chief's residence ; the Van Reenens' plan being to land on the 
south-west coast, and, pushing inland, to effect a junction with 
Freyn. The first point touched at by the Meermin was the 
island since known as Possession. Here the Company's flag 
was hoisted, and the ship proceeded to the neighbourhood of 
Angra Pequena (a locality which came into prominence a century 
later in connection with the German occupation of this coast), 


where explorations were carried out without any trace of Freyn 
being met with. The voyage was therefore continued to Walvisch 
Bay, where Pieter Pienaar, a member of the Van Reenens' party, 
was sent to explore inland. He returned after three weeks with 
no tidings of the land expedition, which, as it afterwards turned 
out, had found the excessive drought an insuperable obstacle to 
an advance. It was therefore decided to return, and beyond a 
partial examination of this inhospitable strip of coast, whose 
moving dunes have stood in the way of thorough exploration 
down to our own day, no very important geographical results were 

This was the last serioiis attempt at northern exploration 
under the Dutch regime, for the political events at the close of 
the century, which ended in the British occupation of the colony, 
engrossed the attention of the government. After the surrender 
to the British, a journey of considerable extent through the 
interior was made by Mr (afterwards Sir John) Barrow, who had 
been sent out officially in connection with the establishment of 
the new government. Barrow's narrative, pubhshed in two parts 
in 1801 and 1804, long remained one of the most used sources 
of information on South Africa, though the ground traversed by 
him had already, for the most part, been made known by 
previous travellers. His farthest in the interior was at a point 
on the Upper Orange River, beyond the Sneeuwberg, and above 
the junction with the northern tributary, the Vaal. This was the 
only portion of his route which led him much beyond the limits 
of the country settled by the Dutch. 

The journeys described in this chapter had resulted in a fair 
general knowledge of the interior up to the line of the Orange 
River, and had shed some light on the tracts immediately north 
of its lower course. They constituted a stage in the progress of 
exploration in South Africa, and it was not until well on in the 
next century that a further decided step forward was made, leading 
to the unveiling of the more distant interior up to and beyond the 


III. Arctic. 

In the first chapter of this book we spoke of the great 
period of Arctic Exploration which began about 1550 and was 
characterised, firstly by the search for a northern passage to the 
East Indies, and secondly by the whaling enterprise in the 
northern seas, chiefly around Spitsbergen. During the whole 
subsequent period, between the first quarter of the seventeenth 
and the last quarter of the eighteenth century — i.e. for about a 
century and a half — a pause in Arctic discovery ensued, and so 
little had been effected that material for a - continuance of the 
story has been almost entirely lacking. The early activity had 
been called into play by practical considerations; and when it 
had been virtually established that no feasible route for trade 
purposes existed in the far north, the inducement to continue the 
struggle was in great measure removed. Two or three voyages 
from this intermediate period must, however, be referred to before 
touching upon the Arctic occurrences of later date. 

Among the voyages of the Dutch whalers and walrus hunters 
subsequent to 1625, the one which has attained most celebrity is 
that of Willem de Vlamingh in 1664. According to the state- 
ment of Witsen, this bold seaman, during a voyage to Novaya 
Zemlya, rounded the northern extremity of the group, and 
passing near the scene of Heemskerk's and Barents's distressful 
wintering on the east coast, sailed E.S.E. to a point in 74°, where 
he saw nothing but open water. It is sometimes stated that 
De Vlamingh visited the winter quarters of the earlier Dutch 
voyagers, but as no mention is made of the house there erected 
(which was still standing in the latter half of the nineteenth 
century), it is probable that no landing was made on this side of 
Novaya Zemlya. Another statement of Witsen, on which implicit 
trust cannot be placed, is to the effect that in 1700 Captain 
Cornelius Roule had sailed north in the longitude of Novaya 
Zemlya and had sighted a previously undiscovered land. As has 
been so often the case in Polar voyages, it is probable that a 
bank of fog had been mistaken for land. Various rumours were 
also current at this time, in Holland and elsewhere, that ships 
had either sailed right up to the Pole itself, or had made the 


voyage from Japan to Europe across the Polar basin, reaching a 
latitude of 84°. But all such statements, like the similar claim 
said to have been made by Mandeville three centuries earlier, are 
obviously purely imaginative. 

Partly through trust in these statements, and partly from a 
study of the voyages of Barents and other early navigators, and 
from theoretic considerations, an Englishman, Captain John 
Wood, put forward a scheme for a voyage through the polar sea 
in search of a passage to Japan and Tartary, which he thought 
would most probably be found midway between Spitsbergen and 
Novaya Zemlya, as the ice, in his view, would cause most 
obstruction near a coast-line. Having obtained the support of 
the King, the Duke of York, and other influential persons, he 
sailed in 1676 with two ships — H.M.S. Speedwell and the Pros- 
perous pink — the latter in command of Captain William Flawes. 
But the voyage was unfortunate. Unbroken ice was found to bar 
the way wherever a passage was attempted, and the ships could 
not advance beyond 76° N. Encountering stormy weather and 
thick fog in the ice off the coast of Novaya Zemlya, the Speedwell 
ran on a rock on June 29 and was lost, the Prosperous narrowly 
escaping a like fate thanks to her smaller size. Wood and his 
men got to land with great difficulty, and found themselves in 
almost hopeless case until providentially rescued by Captain 
Flawes. The result was entirely to shatter Wood's belief in the 
chances of a passage, and to make him brand as intentionally 
misleading the reports which had seemed to favour such a possi- 
bility. Naturally, nothing further was done to prosecute the search. 

Another voyage of this period deserving mention is that of 
the German surgeon Frederik Martens, who in 1671 visited 
Spitsbergen, and wrote an excellent account of that ice-bound 
land, on which it long remained the standard authority. 

From the early part of the i8th century the only voyage to 
this part of the Arctic regions which calls for notice is that of the 
Dutch whaling captain, Cornells Gillis or Giles, to the north- 
east of Spitsbergen in 1707. In this year the sea appears to 
have been particularly free from ice in these parts, for Gillis was 
able to pass the latitude of 81° to the north of the Seven Islands, 
and then sailed east in an open sea until, bending his course to 

H. 26 


the south-east and south, he came, in 80°, to new land that was 
not again sighted for over a century and a half. It must have 
been the White Island of modern navigators, lying between 
Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land, which forms an inaccessible 
mass of snow-covered land. Gillis is said to have returned 
through Hinlopen Strait, and did not therefore complete the 
circumnavigation of the Spitsbergen group. He seems to have 
made accurate surveys of its coasts, though little was known of his 
voyage until, nearly 70 years later, his papers fell into the hands 
of the English writer, the Hon. Daines Barrington, and so 
attained publicity. 

Of the Arctic voyages during the eighteenth century some 
have already been spoken of in chapters dealing primarily with 
other parts of the world. The Russian surveys on the north 
coast of Siberia have been described in Chapter x, while in 
dealing with Captain Cook's voyages it was necessary to pass 
from the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean in telling of the attempt 
to push north through Bering Strait which formed one of the 
main tasks laid down in the programme of the third voyage. 
Again, certain attempts from the side of Hudson Bay have 
fallen naturally into place when speaking of the exploration of 
Northern Canada. One or two other efforts at northern dis- 
covery during our period remain to be mentioned here. None 
was in itself of great importance, but one at least — that of Captain 
Phipps in 1773 — marks a new start in Arctic enterprise, and may 
be regarded as constituting to some extent a preliminary stage of 
the great Arctic campaign of the nineteenth and early twentieth 

It was once more to the initiative of a private individual that 
the impulse in this direction was due. The Hon. Daines 
Barrington, a son of Viscount Barrington and brother of a dis- 
tinguished admiral and also of a bishop, having turned his 
attention to the subject of Arctic voyages, collected all the in- 
formation thereon that he could lay hands on, and placed it before 
the Royal Society with a view to showing that the attainment of 
the North Pole itself was quite a feasible project. This was perhaps 
the first time that this object was held out as something to be 
striven for in itself, the earlier Arctic ventures having almost 


invariably been undertaken with some practical and commercial 
aim in view. The age of scientific exploration was now beginning, 
and the scheme set on foot by Barringtori was but one out of 
many manifestations of the spirit of enquiry now abroad, which, 
as we have seen already, found its opportunity during the period 
of peace ushered in by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. As a matter 
of fact Barrington's information was far from trustworthy, but he . 
succeeded in interesting the Royal Society in the matter, and, 
this body having approached the King through the Earl of Sand- 
wich, the despatch of a Government expedition was resolved upon. 
The command was entrusted to Captain Constantine Phipps 
(afterwards Lord Mulgrave), who sailed in the Racehorse, while 
a second ship, the Carcass, was placed under the command of 
Commander Lutwidge. Both vessels were of the kind technically 
known as bombs, and were therefore unusually strong and specially 
suited for ice-navigation. They were fitted out with great com- 
pleteness, and, among other appliances, their equipment in- 
cluded the apparatus for distilling water invented by Dr Irving, 
who sailed in \ht Racehorse as surgeon ^ The ships left Deptford 
towards the end of May, 1773, finally sailing from the Nore on 
June 10. After some delay from unfavourable winds and fogs, 
the expedition was off the south part of Spitsbergen before the 
end of the month, the weather remaining mild. The land was 
sighted on the 29th in about 77" 59'N., being composed of high 
black rocks, with snow-filled valleys. Continuing their northerly 
course past Magdalena Hoek, the navigators reached the ice-field 
on July 5, and now began a vain attempt to find a passage through 
it. At first they pushed through the looser ice towards the 
north-west, but on the 9th, having reached by their reckoning 
Long. 2° 2' E. in about Latitude 80° 36' N., found the main field 
to form a compact impenetrable body, and therefore turned east- 
ward once more. After anchoring on the 13th at Vogelsang near 
the rocky point called the Cloven Cliff, they made successive 
attempts to push east or north, but in vain. In the former 
direction the ice joined the land, while to the north, in about 

1 Apart from its geographical significance, the expedition is noteworthy 
from the fact that the future hero, Horatio Nelson, served in it as a midship- 

26 — 2 


Lat. 80° 37' N., it ran in an unbroken line from east to west. 
Passing in sight of the Seven Islands, the ships reached the mouth 
of Vaigatz Strait, where one of the boats had an adventure with 

Constantine John Phipps, Earl of Mulgrave. 

(From the portrait in the National Gallery.) 

a number of walruses. The weather was delightful and the sea 
smooth, but the ice soon began to close round the ships. It was 
feared that they would not get clear, and preparations were made for 


abandoning them, but thanks to a favouring wind they were forced 
through on August 10, and once more reached open water. In 
view of the lateness of the season. Captain Phipps now decided 
to return, and after a favourable passage reached the Nore on 
September 25. The results of the voyage were purely negative 
the ice having apparently offered an unusually solid barrier, 
though the weather conditions had been favourable. Little en- 
couragement was therefore forthcoming for a renewal of the 
attempt, and no further effort to push north by this route was 
made for some years. 

Somewhat farther west, on the south-east coast of Greenland, 
an isolated attempt at exploration was made before the end of the 
century by a Danish expedition — one of the many about this time 
which enjoyed Royal patronage. King Christian VII of Denmark 
taking a personal interest in it. In spite of this advantage the 
expedition met with but little success. It was despatched, in 
1786 under Captain Lowenorn and Lieutenant Egede, with the 
object, besides other exploration, of searching for the old colony 
supposed to have existed in Eastern Greenland many years 
before, but long lost sight of The voyagers encountered great 
obstacles in the masses of ice which beset the Greenland coast 
and which entirely barred access to it in the latitudes within 
which the attempt was made — roughly between 65° and 67° N. 
The ships returned to Iceland, whence Egede made a second, 
equally fruitless, effort to reach the land later in the same summer. 
He wintered in Iceland and returned to the task, accompanied 
by Lieutenant Rothe, in May 1787, but was forced to turn back. 
In June he started once more, but the obstacles still proved too 
formidable, and he was obliged to abandon the attempt, without 
accomplishing anything in the way of actual exploration. It was 
not until well on in the nineteenth century that any real progress 
towards a knowledge of Eastern Greenland was made. Its coast 
is perhaps more persistently ice-bound than any other part of the 
Arctic regions, rendering its exploration a matter of exceptional 

From the American side of the Arctic regions an abortive 
attempt at further exploration had been made a few years be- 
fore this (1776-77) in connection with Cook's third voyage, the 


intention being to prepare the way for the return of that naviga- 
tor, should he have been successful in finding a passage from the 
Pacific to the Atlantic by the far north. In 1776 Lieutenant 
Richard Pickersgill was sent by the British Admiralty in the armed 
brig Lion^ primarily for the protection of British whalers in Davis 
Strait, but, this task accomplished, he was instructed to make 
a survey of Baffin Bay in view of a proposed repetition of the 
voyage in the following year. The Lion left Deptford on 
May 25. On June 29 soundings of 320 — 330 fathoms were 
struck in the North Atlantic in 57° N., 24° 24' W. — a position 
roughly corresponding to that in which the imaginary Busse 
Island of Frobisher had been placed on the charts, and this sub- 
marine bank was taken by Pickersgill to represent the remains of 
that island. On July 7 Cape Farewell was passed, and on the 
8th the Lion became entangled in the ice-field off the south-west 
coast of Greenland. The commander now made the mistake of 
clinging too closely to this coast, and the ice drifting along it 
made progress slow. By August 3 he had only reached 65° 37' N., 
though by moving out into the central channel between the two 
ice-fields he was able to make much better progress the next day, 
and reached 68°37'N. But he now lost heart and decided to 
turn back, though practically nothing had been done towards 
carrying out the intended survey. 

The Lion was sent out again the next year in command of 
Lieutenant Walter Young, who was instructed to explore the 
western coasts of Baffin Bay, searching for inlets which might offer 
hopes of a passage westward. If any such were found, an attempt 
was to be made to push on in that direction. Nothing of the 
kind, however, was accomplished. Cape Farewell was reached 
early in June, but on entering the ice-pack stormy weather was 
encountered. In spite of this, the latitude of 72°42'N. — con- 
siderably higher than had been attained the previous year — was 
reached on June 8, but, the channel between the ice-fields on 
either side having then become extremely narrow. Young gave up 
all attempts to prosecute the objects of the expedition, and re- 
turned homewards, reaching the Nore on August 26. Thus ended 
the last serious attempt for many years to push northward by the 
Baffin Bay route. 


A rapid view may now be taken of the main characteristics 
and phases of exploration during the period dealt with in this 
volume. Opening with the retirement of Spain and Portugal 
from the position of chief actors in the drama, its early stages 
were marked by the rising activity of the Dutch and English in 
the maritime struggle for the eastern trade ; of the French in the 
exploitation and partial settlement of northern North America; 
and of the Russians in the conquest of the wide plains of Siberia. 
In none of these cases did exploration for its own sake form the 
ruling motive of the pioneers by whom these conquests were 
achieved, but incidentally to the quest for commercial advantages 
much was done to extend the bounds of geographical knowledge. 
From the point of view of general world-knowledge the most 
notable achievements during the first half of our period were 
the voyages of Tasman, which did more than any others to draw 
back the veil from the previously unknown Australasian area; 
and the various Arctic voyages of the Dutch and English in search 
of the north-east and north-west passages. 

After about the middle of the seventeenth century maritime 
discovery entered, temporarily, upon a less active phase, though 
the doings of the Buccaneers helped to extend acquaintance 
with the South Seas, though mainly confined to certain definite 
routes. The name of Dampier stands out among the rest as 
most meritorious from our point of view. Land exploration 
owed much at this time to the energy of the Jesuit and other 
missionaries in various parts of the world, especially in Spanish, 
Portuguese, and French America, in all of which they showed 
themselves active as pioneers in the wilds beyond the limits of 
regular settlement. 


About the middle of the eighteenth century may be said 
to have begun the modern period, par excellence, of geographical 
discovery, which has continued with no decided break to our 
own times. Exploration was now first definitely undertaken with 
scientific, rather than commercial aims. After the conclusion of 
the Treaty of Paris in 1763, expeditions for research purposes were 
inaugurated on all hands, investigations into the natural history 
of the regions visited being combined with survey-work of a more 
precise character than had previously been undertaken. The 
transit of Venus in 1769 supplied the incentive for some of the 
most important exploring work of the century, being the im- 
mediate cause of the despatch of the first of Cook's famous 
expeditions, as well as of the series of research expeditions carried 
out by Russian savants in Siberia. Elsewhere, too, exploration 
began to take on a more scientific character, as evidenced in the 
work of men like David Thompson in the west of Canada. 

Glancing now at the regional extension of exploring work 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it may be said 
that the most marked characteristic of the whole period was the 
unveiling of the great Pacific Ocean, which down to the end of 
the sixteenth century had been traversed by one or two routes 
only, the greater part of the area remaining entirely unknown. 
By the close of the eighteenth century its waters had been covered 
with a complete network of routes, and all the important island 
groups had been laid down on the charts with an approach to 
accuracy, while the last of the unknown continental coast-lines 
bounding the same ocean had been surveyed — in some cases, as 
by the work of Vancouver in North- West America, with a high 
degree of precision. Land exploration during our period had 
shown the most decidedly new departures in the case of northern 
North America and Northern Asia, which, practically unknown 
to civilised man at its opening, had before its close taken their 
place among the regions of the world of which at least the major 
features had been laid down on the maps. In other parts of these 
continents some extension of previous knowledge had been 
brought about, though the central core of Asia still remained to 
a great extent a terra incognita. In Africa only the fringe of the 
vast interior had been touched before the close of the eighteenth 


century, while in the case of Australia all but the coast-line 
remained absolutely unknown. The North and South Polar 
Regions had also been touched only on their outskirts. The ex- 
ploration of these, and of the interior of Africa and Australia 
(and to a smaller extent of Asia), remained as the special tasks of 
the nineteenth century. 

Although, as we have said, the contemporary period may be 
considered to stretch back, in its opening stages, to considerably 
before the end of the eighteenth century, yet that point of time, 
which has been taken as the limit of this volume, does mark a 
real epoch in the history of geographical exploration. The general 
distribution of sea and land, and the contours of the great land 
masses within the habitable portion of the globe, had then first 
become matters of definitely established knowledge. 



Chapter I. Dutch North-East Voyages (pp. 35, 30). The fame of 
Barents has so over-shadowed that of his associates in the quest for the North- 
East Passage that there is perhaps a risk of giving these less than their due of 
the credit for the results gained. The reputation of Rijp in particular has, in 
the opinion of some, suffered somevrhat unjustly for this reason. While 
Barents held to the route by Novaya Zemlya, Rijp saw more chance of success 
by keeping to the open sea, and it was with this idea that he made his deter- 
mined effort to push north through the Barents Sea east of Spitsbergen. Some, 
even of Barents' companions, seem to have doubted the wisdom of his course 
of action, as has been pointed out by the Dutch historian, Dr S. MuUer. 
Rijp's experiences were of some importance in connection with the renewed 
attempts in 1611-12, under Jan Cornelisz. May, of which mention should have 
been made in the text. Like so many Arctic voyagers, Rijp had been misled 
into thinking that he had sighted land (named by him Fish Island) at his 
farthest north, and it was the verification of this supposed discovery that formed 
one of the special tasks assigned to May. 

This voyager, known to his contemporaries by the sobriquet "Menscheter" 
(man-eater), has remained less known than he deserves to be, no doubt from 
the fact that his Arctic journal has only lately been made generally accessible. 
He had already commanded a ship in Van Neck's voyage to the East Indies in 
1598, and was afterwards captain of Spilbergen's ship on his voyage of circum- 
navigation in 1614-17. The idea that a course through the open Polar sea 
might meet with less obstruction from ice than one which hugged the land 
held its ground even after Hudson's failures to find a passage, and it had the 
influential support of Plancius, among others. It also received some encourage- 
ment from a book brought out in 1610 by a German doctor, Helisaeus Roslin, 
under the title Mitternachtige Schiffarth. The actual project for a new voyage 
was put forward by two private adventurers, Ernest van de Wall and Pieter 
Aertsz. de Jonge, who after one or two vain attempts persuaded the States General 
— urged thereto largely by the representations of Plancius — to fit out two ships 
for the venture (January 161 1). In order to avoid the drift-ice it was urged 
that the voyage should be made as early in the year as possible, and prepara- 
tions were therefore hurried forward. The commander was to sail in the Vos, 
while his colleague, Symon Willemsz. Cat, was appointed to the Craen. The 
pilots were Pieter Fransz. and Cornelis Jansz. Mes, and the two projectors 


sailed as factors — Van de Wall in the Vbs, De Jonge in the Craen. May's 
nephew Jan Jacobsz. May also sailed with him. The ships left the Texel on 
March 28, 1611, passed the North Cape on April 14, and began their search 
for a passage between Spitsbergen and the supposed Fish Island of Rijp. 
But the ice offered an insuperable barrier, as was also the case on a second 
attempt between the supposed Fish Island and Novaya Zemlya. Nor were 
they more successfiil on once more trying Barents's old route along the coabt 
of Novaya Zemlya. It was therefore resolved to pass to the second part of the 
programme, the examination of the coast of North America (Nova Francia). 
Sighting Newfoundland on October 29 they sailed south along the coast, 
searching for harbours and entering into some traffic with the natives, though 
this was marred by a fatal affray. The most southerly point reached seems to 
have been south of the Hudson, in 40° 35' N., and some of the names given to 
features on this coast held their ground in later maps. 

Early in 161 2 it was resolved that the Craen should remain on this coast 
while May in the Vos renewed the attack on the ice-fields. Conditions were 
even worse than in 1611 and though on two successive attempts to sail N.W. 
from Novaya Zemlya latitudes of 77° and over were attained, the voyagers 
had again to own themselves beaten. The Vos was back in Holland early in 
October, the Craen having already arrived in July. 

A geographical result of the voyage was the elimination from the map of 
the various lands placed conjecturally in the space between Spitsbergen and 
Novaya Zemlya — " Willoughby's land," "Matsyn," and "Fish Island." An 
indirect result was the further prosecution of enterprise by companions of May, 
both in the Arctic sea and on the American coast. On one of the voyages, 
carried out in 1614 by the younger May with Joris Carolus (see p. 44) as pilot, 
the island of Jan Mayen was visited, and it is to the commander on this 
occasion that the island appears to owe its name, and not, as was once thought, 
to his uncle. It has been held by some that it was then first discovered, though 
the belief in the identity of the island with " Hudson's Tutches" (see p. 28) 
seems a reasonable one, while the island may also have been visited by others 
before 1614. The voyages to the American coast had an important result in 
the founding of the Dutch " Compagnie van NieuwNederland," the forerunner 
of the Dutch West India Company. 

Chapter V. Early Jesuit Journeys to Tibet (p. 131). A good deal of 
misconception has hitherto prevailed on the subject of Andrade's journey to 
Tibet, but the actual facts have been clearly stated by Mr C. Wessels in an 
article in De Studien (Nijmegen), 1912. Misled by the identity of name 
between the chief place in Garhwal and Srinagar in Kashmir, some have 
supposed that the journey led through the latter country, which is quite a 
mistake. It has also been held that the traveller made his way to Lake 
Manasarowar, but this seems equally erroneous. The only body of water 
spoken of by him is a tanque or pool at the source of the Ganges, which, 
according to the latest information, does actually exist. There is also no 
foundation for the statement that Andrade continued his journey across 
Northern Tibet to China. After reaching Chaprang for the second time he 
spent several years in missionary work there, and after he left his labours were 


continued by other missionaries. Another Jesuit, Father Cacella, appears to 
have reached Shigatze in south central Tibet in 1627, and to have been 
succeeded on his death in 1630 by Father Cabral. After 1650, the Jesuit 
missions in Tibet ceased for over 60 years. Except the above missionaries, no 
traveller is known to have visited the source of the Ganges or to have crossed 
the western Himalayas until the nineteenth century. 

Chapter VIII. Spanish Discovery of the Caroline Islands, 1686-1733. 
While, as has been seen in Chapter viii, the English circumnavigators usually 
held to a more or less definite track across the Pacific, passing one or other of ' 
the Ladrone Islands, something was done during the same period by the 
Spanish authorities to bring to light the small scattered islands to the south of 
that group, since known as the Carolines. The first discovery is said to have 
been made in 1686, when a Spanish ship commanded by Don Francisco Lazeano 
lighted upon a "large island" which he named Carolina in honour of the 
reigning king of Spain, Carlos II. The Ladrones had by this time been 
occupied by Spain, and about 1688 the governor Quiroga sent an expedition to 
search for this island, but without result. In 1 696 the island Faroilep is said to 
have been discovered by a pilot, Juan Rodriguez, between 10° and 11° N. — a 
latitude which corresponds better with that of Falalep, considerably further 
west. Further information was gradually acquired — in part from the reports of 
natives carried from their homes by storms — and the idea of establishing a 
mission in the islands took shape among the Jesuits of the Philippines, who 
gave the name New Philippines to the new discoveries, and sent to Europe 
infonnation about them which was printed in the Retires &difiantes. The first 
attempts, including one in 17 10, under Don Francisco Padilla, accompanied by 
Fathers Duberron and Cortil, led to no result ; but eventually Father Juan 
Antonio Cantova, a missionary who had previously been stationed at Guam and 
had thence collected more definite information than had been before available, 
made his way to the Carolines in 1722 ; visiting, so far as can be made out, the 
group east of Yap known as Garbanzos. He returned with a colleague in 
1 73 1, but two years later was murdered by the inhabitants of Mogmog, near 

Chapter IX. French and Spanish Voyages in the Pacific, 1769-74. The 
English enterprise in the Pacific from 1764 onwards, and the reports of dis- 
coveries resulting therefrom, led indirectly to several voyages by navigators of 
other nations, in addition to those mentioned earlier in this book. One of these, 
under Jean Fran9ois de Surville, was organised in 1769 by the French in 
Bengal in the hope of exploiting for purposes of trade the reported English 
discovery of a large rich island in the Central Pacific— a report probably based 
on a distorted version of Byron's or Wallis's discoveries. The voyage, made in 
the Saint Jean Baptiste, was disastrous. Contrary winds made it impossible 
to advance far in the required southerly direction, and the voyagers were 
reduced to great straits by attacks of scurvy and the lack of fresh water. 
After sighting Juan Fernandez, and at length reaching the coast of Peru, 
their misfortunes culminated in the loss of their commander by the capsizing of 
a boat. 


Just at this time the Spanish authorities were viewing with jealous eye the 
British doings in the Pacific, and the Viceroy of Peru, Don Manuel de Amat y 
Junient, had obtained permission to fit out an expedition to search for and 
occupy the long reported Davis's Land, by some identified with Easter Island, 
visited by Roggeveen in 1722. Two ships of war were fitted out and placed 
under the command of Don Felipe Gonzalez, who sailed in the San Lorenzo, 
while the frigate Santa Rosalia had as captain Don Antonio Domonte. The 
expedition sailed from Callao on October 10, 1770, reaching Easter Island on 
November 15. The island was formally annexed to the Crown of Spain under 
the name San Carlos, and a survey carried out ; while, on leaving, a search for 
other land to the west was made. Only in 1908 was this voyage rescued from 
oblivion by the care of Dr Bolton Corney, by whose researches several 
unprinted documents bearing on it had been unearthed. 

The Spanish authorities followed up this voyage by others, all with Tahiti 
as their destination ; but little information about them has yet been made 
public. During Cook's visit to Tahiti in the course of the second voyage, 
news was obtained of the visit of a Spanish vessel early in 1773, which has been 
wrongly thought to have been that commanded by Don Cayetano de Langara 
y Huarto (who did not sail till 1775). In reality the first two voyages were 
made by Don Domingo Bonechea, who sailed on the first in 1773. Having 
returned to Peru, he again left Caflao in the frigate Santa Maria Magdalena 
(or Aguild), accompanied by the despatch vessel San Miguel, on September -20, 
1774 ; Tahiti being reached on November 15 of the same year. A consider- 
able stay was made there, and a good deal of information on the island is 
contained in a journal kept by the interpreter Maximo Rodriguez, of which a 
MS. copy is in the possession of the Royal Geographical Society. This too 
Dr Corney hopes shortly to publish for the first time, hke that of Gonzalez, 
under the auspices of the Hakluyt Society. Bonechea died at Tahiti. 

Chapter XIII. Exploration on North-West Coast of Hudson Bay, \ith 
century (pp. S'zp-sso). Some additional details on this subject may here be 
given. The voyage of Christopher Middleton in search of a western passage by 
this route has been spoken of on p. 329. Its results were not considered satis- 
factory by Dobbs, who in a heated controversy with Middleton maintained 
that the desired passage was still probable. Funds were raised for a new 
expedition, which sailed in 1746 in the ships Dobbs and California, Captains 
William Moore and Francis Smith respectively, the former of whom had taken 
part in Middleton's expedition as Captain of the Discovery. Mr Henry Ellis 
also sailed with the commission to chart the anticipated discoveries, and he 
eventually wrote the narrative of the expedition. Having wintered near York 
Factory, the ships sailed north in 1747 and explored the coast. Moore and 
Ellis in the Dobbs^s long-boat discovered Corbett's Inlet, while Smith in the 
California attempted to enter Rankin's Inlet (discovered by Lieut. John 
Rankin of the Furnace in 1742). Subsequently the two long-boats continued 
the exploration in company and discovered the most important inlet of the 
whole coast — Chesterfield Inlet — which received its name on this occasion. It 
was ascended for a long distance, its width fluctuating between three or four 
and six or seven leagues. But though it seemed to open out at the farthest 


point reached, the explorers ' ' were discouraged from proceeding farther, because 
that the water from being salt, transparent, and deep ; with steep shores, and 
strong currents, grew fresher, thicker, and shallower, at that height." After 
this the ships went north again to examine the so-called Wager Strait ; but 
finding it to be a bay only, they gave up the task and sailed for England. 

The main chance of finding a westward passage now lay in the further 
exploration of Chesterfield and Corbett's Inlets, and for this purpose Captain 
Christopher was sent north in i;6l in the Churchill. He is said to have 
ascended Chesterfield Inlet for about loo miles, but then turned back as the 
water had become almost fresh. Returning next year accompanied by Mr Norton 
he pushed on to the freshwater lake into which the Dubawnt river debouches ; 
but without seeing this. The lake received its name. Baker Lake, on this 
occasion. In 1764 Rankin Inlet was explored by Captain Johnson, whose 
surveys, like those of Christopher, are embodied in a MS. chart preserved at 
the Admiralty. 

The despatch in 1790 of Captain Charles Duncan — the same whose voyage 
to N.W. America is referred to on p. 281 — was due to the solicitations of 
Alexander Dalrymple, who urged on the Hudson Bay Company the possibility 
of still finding a passage by way of Roe's Welcome. Reaching Hudson Bay in 
1790 Duncan found so much obstruction put in his way that he returned with- 
out doing anything. In 1791 he was sent again in a new ship, the Beaver, but 
was so delayed by ice in Hudson Strait that he could dc nothing beyond 
carrying out an examination of Corbett's Inlet to its head. In 1792 he went in 
the Beaver to Chesterfield Inlet, which he then ascended by boat, proceeding 
on through Baker Lake to the river which enters at its head. It had been part 
of his commission to trace the supposed connection between this river and the 
outlet of Dubawnt Lake discovered by Hearne ; but finding the river to come 
for some distance rather from the north than the west, he gave up the attempt 
after tracing it upwards some 30 miles. With this voyage all efforts to 
prosecute the search ceased for the time. 

Chapter XIV. Dutch Exploration in Guiana, iSth century. During 
this century much enterprise was shown by Dutch traders and prospectors in 
pushing into the interior of their colony of Guiana, especially during the 
vigorous administration of the Governor Storm van 's Gravesande, whose 
despatches were first printed in 1911 by the Hakluyt Society under the editor- 
ship of Messrs Harris and De Villiers. They show that a considerable know- 
ledge of the geography and peoples of the interior, up to and beyond the 
borders of Brazil, was possessed by the authorities. From about 1740 onwards 
miners pushed up into the Upper Essequibo region in search of ores, while 
ii Treatise on the Posts, written by Storm in 1764, shows that traders regularly 
made their way by the Essequibo and Rupununi to the interior savannahs, and 
that some had advanced down the Takutu and Rio Branco as far as the 
Portuguese Missions. Documentary evidence has lately been brought to light 
showing that the journey to the Rio Branco had been made as early as I7i8 bv 
a Jew named Gerrit Jacobs. The claim of a mining prospector, Salomon 
Sanders, to have ascended the Corentyn to its source in 1720, seems not to be 
trustworthy, though he probably advanced some distance up that river. 


Chapter XV. The French in Madagascar, \ith century. A renewal of 
French activity in this great island during the latter part of the i8th century 
brought about some additions to knowledge. In 1750 a concession of the 
island of Ste Marie off the north-east coast was obtained on behalf of the 
Compagnie des Indes, and in 1768 Fort Dauphin was re-occupied by M. de 
Modave for the French government. Among scientific travellers who visited 
Madagascar about this time, besides Commergon and Sonnerat (see p. 224), 
were M. Poivre and the Abbe Rochon. In 1774 the Hungarian adventurer 
Benyowski, who had gained the countenance of the authorities, established a 
settlement on Antongil Bay, but, being eventually disavowed, he entered upon 
a career of lawlessness which ended in his death in 1786. The most important 
travels in the interior were those of one Mayeur, interpreter at the French 
establishments, who between 1774 and 1785 traversed the northern part of 
the island to the Sakalava country, visited the northern extremity, and made 
two journeys to the Hova province of Imerina. His accounts were not entirely 
superseded until the end of the nineteenth century. 


Note. Names of Ships are in Italics. 

Abai River, Abyssinia, shown on Fra 
Mauro's map, 144 «., described by 
Paez, 145 

Abendrotii Island, Pacific, 211 

Abreu, Antonio Fernandez de, dis- 
covers mines in Mato Grosso, 361 

Abrus precatoriits, seeds of, 193 

Abyssinia, Le Blanc's travels in, 62 ; 
Jesuit and other intercourse with, 
1 44 seq. ; Fra Mauro's knowledge 
of, 144 ».; Jesuits expelled, 149; 
Capuchins and others try to estab- 
lish Mission, ibid.; mistakes of 
cartographers respecting, 150; 
journeys to, by Nile, 151, (Krump's) 
152 ; Bruce's journeys in, 384 seq.; 
anticipated by Jesuits, 384 ; his 
descent of western escarpment, 389; 
his description of, 390 

Academy of Sciences, Paris, 212 ; 
geodetic operations of, 369 

Acapulco, Anson at, 202 ; Malaspina 
at, 283 

Acapulco Galleon, buccaneers lie in 
wait for the, 187; smaller, taken by 
Woodes Rogers, 198 

Accault, his journey with Hennepin, 


Achani tribe, Amur, 125 

Acuna, Cristoval d', voyage down 
Amazon and narrative, 173 

Adair, trader to Ohio, 346 n. 

Adams, William, takes part in Dutch 
voyage to Japan, 50 ; his residence 
there, 52 ; meets Saris, 57 ; voyages 
to Siam, ibid. 

Adanson, French botanist, patron of 
Gmelin, 376 

Aden, lessened importance of, 56 

Admiralty Islands, N. of New Guinea, 
named by Carteret, 221; Hunter 
at, 308 ; French uniforms seen at, 
315; D'Entrecasteaux at, 316 

Adua, Abyssinia, 1 = 2 

Adventure, sails on Cook's second 
voyage, 235 ; parts company, 238 ; 
rejoined by Resolution in New 
Zealand, 239 ; scurvy on, ibid. ; 
again separated, 240 ; at Queen 
Charlotte Sound, 243 ; disaster to 
boat's crew and voyage home, 244 

Adventure Bay or Sound, Tasmania, 
Cook at, 246 ; D'Entrecasteaux at, 

315. 317 
Africa, knowledge of, a.d. 1600, 7 ; 

Le Blanc's travels in, 62; 17th cent. 

exploration in, 143 seq.; i8th cent. 

exploration in, 384 seq. ; interior 

almost unknown in 1800, 408 
Africa, North, Bruce's travels in, 


Africa, South, early travels in, r66; 
exploration in, 17th and i8th cent., 
390 seq.; position in 1800, 399 

Africa, West, travel in, 17th cent, 
i-,^seq.; slave trade in, 155; De 
Gennes touches at coast, 203 ; (see 
Gambia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, 

^African Galley, 210; wrecked, 211 
Agagir elephant hunters, 389 
Agau countries, visited by Lobo, 149 
Agra, visited by Sharpeigh, 56 ; by 
Coryat, 62 ; by Mandelslo, 65 ; 
Goes starts from, for China, 130 ; 
Grueber reaches, 135 
Aguarico River, Upper Amazon basin, 

Aguila, 413 
Aguirre, descent of Amazon by, 8, 

Ahmetkent, Gmelin dies at, 377 
Aigle, Bouvet's ship, 207 ; Bougain- 
ville's ship, 214, 222 
Aigun, station of, Amur, 127 
Ainus of Yezo, Vries hears of, 88 



Aitutaki Island, S. Pacific, 311, 312 
Ajmere, Jehangir's court at, 63 
Akbar, Emperor, merchant from 

China at court of, 130 
Aksu, E. Turkestan, 130 
Alaba, Galla-land, 148 
Alaseya River, Siberia, reached by 

Russians, 120 
Alashan range, Mongolia, 138 
Alaska, Cook on coast of, 250-252; 

Gvosdef reaches coast of, 260, 268 

(map) ; Bering and Chirikof on 

coast of, 266 ; fur-traders in, 269 ; 

explorations on coast of, by La 

Perouse, 274; by British fur-traders, 

279 seq.\ by Malaspina, 283; 

British sovereignty proclaimed by 

Vancouver, 297 ; white men's visits 

to, reported to Mackenzie, 340 

(see America, N.W. ). 
Alaska penins. , Cook at, 2 50 ; Bering 

at, 266 
Alata, cataract of. Blue Nile, 145 ; 

Bruce visits, 388 
Alava, Jose, Spanish representative 

at Nootka, 297 
Albaca or Albay, Philippines, eruption 

of, 77 n. 
Albanel, Father, reaches Hudson Bay 

from South, 109 
Albany, voyage to Hudson Bay, 329 
Albay volcano, see Albaca 
Albazikha River, Upper Amur, 126 
Albazin, Upper Amur, founded, 126; 

sieges of, 127 
Aldan River, Siberia, 123, 125 
Aleppo, overland route to east from, 

60 seq, 
Aleutian Islands, Cook explores, 250, 

252; Russians in, 252 ; Bering sights 

volcanoes of, 266; Russian trappers 

in, 269 ; Billings and Sarichef in, 

Alexander, voyage in W. Pacific, 305 
Alexeief, Feodot, voyages on N.E. 

coast of Siberia, 121, 122 
Alfred, King, Other's voyage narrated 

to, 14 
Algiers, Bruce consul-general at, 385 
Algoa Bay, reached by Beutler, 392 
Algonquins of Canada, 98 seq. 
Ali Bey, ruler of Egypt, 386 
AUeghanies, a barrier to advance 

westward, 346 ; Walker crosses, 

ibid. ; Boon crosses, 348 
Aller, Julian de, his work among 

Moxos, 177 

AUouez, Father, journeys in Canada, 

Almeida, Manoel d'. History of 

Abyssinia, 145 
Altai Mts, Gerbillon hears of, 139 ; 

Pallas's researches in, 376 
Alvarez, embassy of, to Abyssinia, 

Amapalla Bay, Cent. America, 197 
Amatafu Island, see Tiafu 
Amat y Junient, Don Manuel de, 


Amazon River, Roe's visit to, 63 ; 
early explorations in basin of, 171 
seq. ; descent by Spanish Mission- 
aries, 172 ; ascent by Teixeira, 173; 
Acufia's work on, ibid. ; connection 
with Orinoco, 174, 368; Dutch and 
English on, 1 74 k. ; Fritz's account 
and map, 175; journeys in basin 
of, i8th cent., 362-3, 367-8 ; de- 
scent by La Condamine, 370; by 
Madame Godin, ibid. 

Amazons, supposed female warriors, 


Amboina, English and Dutch at, 54 ; 
Funnell at, 197 ; D'Entrecasteaux 
at, 316 

Ambrose, — , with Dampier in Cygnet, 

Ambrym Island, New Hebrides, Cook 
sights, 242 

America, recognised as an independent 
land-mass, 3 ; strait between Asia 
and, 3, 13, 121; importance of Jesuit 
journeys in, 407 

America, Central, buccaneers in, 183 

America, North, knowledge of, a.d. 
1600, 9; explorations in, 17th cent., 
97 seq. ; position of western ex- 
tremity, 251 ; Vancouver disproves 
idea of sea-passage across, 297 ; 
land exploration in i8th cent., 322 
seq. ; French in, 407 ; exploring 
activity in, 408; Dutch on N.E. 
Coast, 411 

America, North West, proposed ex- 
ploration by Narborough, 180; 
Cook's voyage to ascertain relations 
with Asia, 245, 248 ; Spanish voy- 
ages to, 248, 381, 283, 291, 292, 
294 ; supposed island off extremity 
of, 253 ; Bering'sand Chirikof'svoy- 
ages to, 266 ; Russian trappers in, 
269 ; Ismaelof and others explore, 
270, 271 ; La Perouse on coast of. 



274; voyages of fur-traders to, 279; 
Vancouver's surveys, 289 seq. ; (see 
America, South, knowledge of, A.D. 
1600, 8 ; discovery in, [7th cent, 
168 seq.; black-water rivers of, 
174 ; buccaneers on coasts of, 183 ; 
French on west coast of, 200, 203, 
205, 206, 207 ; Malaspina's surveys 
on coasts, 283 ; i8th cent, explora- 
tions in, 358 seq. ; political bound- 
aries in, 364 
Anigun River, Lower Amur, 127 
AmoenitcUes Exoticae, title of work by 

Kaempfer, 66 
Amossof, Feodot, explorations off N. 

Siberian coast, 257 
Amoy, Clipperton at, 199 
Amphitrite, voyage to China, 205 
Amsterdam, Indian goods distributed 
from, 2 ; Arctic ventures of mer- 
chants of, 2 1 seq. 
Amsterdam, voyage of the, 80 
Amsterdam Island, Indian Ocean, De 
Vlamingh passes, 208 ; Crozet sails 
for, 237 ; Vancouver misses, 287 ; 
position fixed by D'Entrecasteaux, 

Amsterdam Island, Pacific, 92, 240 
Amu Darya, old bed examined by 

Bekovich, 373 
Amur River, Russians on, 123 seq. ; 
main stream navigated by Poyarkof, 
124; Khabarof's voyage, 125; ex- 
plorations in upper basin of, 126; 
lower basin evacuated, 127; crossed 
by Jesuits from China, 139 ; Aca- 
demicians on Upper, 261 ; mouth 
not reached by La Perouse or 
Broughton, 300 ; Messerschmidt 
on Upper, 374; Pallas on, 376 
Anaa, Low Archipelago, 72 
Anabara River, Siberia, 263 
Anachoretes, lie des. New Guinea, 

224 ; D'Entrecasteaux at, 316 
Anadyr River, Siberia, expedition in 
search of, 122 and k. ; reached by 
Deshnef, ibid. ; sea-route to, not 
used, 123; Paulutzki on, 261 ; route 
to Kamchatka by, 258; reached by 
Laptef, 264 
Anadyrsk station founded, 122 
Anamocka or Anamuka Island, see 

Anchorite Island, see Anachoretes 
Ancient Mariner, Rime of the, 199 ?z. 
Anderson, Mr, sails with Cook, 246 

Andes, geodetic operations in, 369 
Andrade, Antonio de, journey through 

Tibet, 131, 411 
Andrean, 269 
Andreief, journey of, in Siberian Arctic 

Sea, 272 
Angara River, reached by Russians, 

Angasija, Comoro Islands, Beaulieu's 

account of, 61 
Angelis, F. A. ^de, missionary in 

Abyssinia, 145* 
Angelis, — de, Jesuit in Japan, 86 
Angelo and Carli's journeys in An- 
gola, 165, 166 
Angoche Island, S.E. Africa, 61 
Angola, Remetszoon's voyage to, 79 
Angostura, Orinoco, 368 
Angra Pequefia, S.W. Africa, Van 

Reenens at, 398 
Anian, supposed Strait of, 13, 121 ; 

Knight's voyage to discover, 329 
Anikieifs, Russian merchants, 20 
Ankudinof, voyage of, with Deshnef, 

Annapolis basin, 98 
Anne, The, sails under AnSon, 201 ; 

condemned, 202 
Anson, Lord, voyage round world, 

Antarctic, field for discovery, 235 ; 

Cook on borders of, 238, 240, 244 ; 

exploration abandoned, 245 
Antarctic Circle, first crossed by 

Cook, 238 ; further crossings, 240 
Antongil bay, Madagascar, French 

at, 167, 415 
Antwerp, Indian goods distributed 

from, 2 
Anuda Island, Pacific, discovered by 

Edwards, 313 
Anville, J. B. d', see D'Anville 
Anza, Juan Bautista de, searches for 

route to California, 356 
Api Island, New Hebrides, 242 
ApoUinaire, Brue's agent on Senegal, 


Apolobamba, Peru, 176, 177 

Aquiluna or Aquilonda, supposed 
lake, 164 

Arab sword-hunters, 389 

Arabia, Middleton in, 56 ; visited by 
Le Blanc, 62 ; early intercourse 
with, 381 ; Niebuhr's journeys in 
S.W., 382-4; his work on, 384; 
Bruce on coast of, 387 

Araguaya River, Brazil, 171 

27 — 2 



Aratika Island, Low Archip., 211 
Arce, Father de, work among Chi- 

quitos, 178; journeys in Paraguay, 

and death, 359 
Archangel Michael, Spangberg's ship, 

Archithinue (Blackfeet) Indians, 
Hendry meets, 330, 331 

Arctic Circle, crossed by Hearne, 334 

Arctic Ocean, early voyages in, 14 
seq.,^i\ ; suggested route to Pacific 
through, ■247 ; Cook attempts to 
navigate, ■251 ; Clarke repeats at- 
tempt, 254 ; islands in, off Siberian 
coast, 257 ; Russian voyages in, 
262 ; reached by Hearne, 334 ; by 
Mackenzie, 339 

Arctic regions, beginnings of ex- 
ploration of, II, i\seq.\ explora- 
tion in, 17th and 1 8th cent., 400 J'^^.; 
importance of Dutch and English 
voyages, 407 

Ardrah, W. Africa, 156 

Arend, Roggeveen's ship, 210 

Argonaut, voyage to N.W. America, 

Argun River, Upper Amur, 126 ; fort 
on, 128; Messerschmidt on, 374 

Ariraoa Island, New Guinea, 211 

Arizona, Spanish Missions in, 355 «• 

Arkansas River, Marquette and Joliet 
near, 1 1 1 ; Joutel reaches, 1 1 6 

Arkansas tribe, in, 114 

Arkiko, Red Sea, 144 

Armenia, P^re de Rhodes in, 66 ; 
Grueber in, 134 

Ar7thein, 81 

Arnhem's Land, 82 

Arteaga, Ignacio de, exploration on 
W. coast of N. America, 281 

Artieda, Andres de, descends Ama- 
zon with Teixeira, 173 

Aru Islands, touched at by Duifken, 
70; by Carstensz. and Pieterszoon, 

Arzina, Lapland, Sir H. Willoughby 
perishes at, i5 

AscencSo Island of Fr^zier, 206 

Ascension Island, Dampier at, 196 ; 
De Gennes at, 204 ; Bougainville 
at, 224 

Ascension, 53 

Asia, knowledge of, A.D. 1600, 5; 
relations of, with N. America, 3, 
245, 253, 256, 259, 268, 269; 
N.E. extremity. Cook at, 251 ; (see 
Deshnef, Cape) 

Asia, Central, early knowledge of, 
129; iSth cent, journeys in, 372 
seq.; Renat's, 374; his map, 375 

Asia, Northern, in Mercator's map 
of 1569, 18 K.; 17th cent, advance 
in, \\?>seq.\ Strahlenberg's map 
and description of, 374; exploring 
activity in, 408 

Asia, N.E. coasts, Dutch discoveries 
on, 124, 258 seq.\ Russian ditto, 
124, 256 seq.; La Perouse's ex- 
ploration of, 276 ; Broughton's 
voyage to, 299 ; [see Kamchatka) 

Asia Minor, Coryat visits, 62 ; Pere 
de Rhodes in, 66 ; Bruce in, 385 

Asnaf Segued, Emperor of Abyssinia, 

Assiniboiles, Lac des, 323 
Assiniboine Indians, with La V^ren- 

drye, 325 ; Kellsey visits, 329 ; 

Hendry among, 330 
Assiniboine River, exploration of, 325 
Assistant, sails under Bligh, 314 
Assomption Island, Ladrones, 275 
Assuan, Bruce at, 387, 390 
Astrabad, Gmelin at, 377 
Astrakhan, Gmelin at, 376, 377 ; 

Guldenstaedt at, 377 
Astrolabe, sails under La Perouse, 273 
Asuncion, Paraguay, 366 
Asuncion Island, Ladrones, 275 
Atabapo River, Venezuela, 368 
Atafu Island, Pacific, Edwards at, 

Atbara, head-stream crossed by Bre- 

vedent, 152 
Athabasca, Lake, not the Athapuscow 

of Hearne, 334 ; tidings of, 336 ; 

reached by Pond, ibid. ; misplaced 

by him, 338 ; fort founded on, ibid.; 

crossed by Mackenzie, 340 ; survey 

by Turner, 344 
Athabasca River, descended by Pond, 


Athapuscow Lake (Great Slave L. ), 
discovered by Hearne, 334 

Atiu Island, see Watiu 

Atjeh, Sumatra, Houtman killed at, 
50; Lancaster at, 54; Beaulieu at, 
6 1 ; Dampier at, 191 

Atlantic Ocean, supposed connection 
with Pacific, 121 

Atlantic Ocean, South, reports of land 
in, 181, 184; Bou vet's search for 
land in, 307 ; Vancouver's search 
for Ilha Grande in, 298; (see Cir- 
cumcision, Cape) 



Atlassof, Vladimir, expedition to 

Kamchatka, 123, 138-9 
Atrevida, voyage of, under Malaspina, 

Attok, Indus, 130 
Atui Island, Sandwich group. Cook 

at, 248; Vancouver at, 388 
Atures, cataract of, Orinoco River, 8 
Auge, botanist on Hop's expedition, 

S. Africa, 393 
Augustinians in Peru, 176 
Aurora Island, New Hebrides, 242 
Aurungzeb, Bernier physician to, 67 
Austral Islands, S. Pacific, 229; Cook 

at, 247 
Australia, discovery of, in i6th cent., 
doubtful, 4 ; Dutch voyages to, 70, 
79 seq. ; proved an independent 
land-mass, 93 ; north-west coast 
explored by Tasman, 95 ; later 
Dutch voyages to, 189 ; Dampier's 
visits to, 190, 192; De Vlamingh's 
voyage to, 208 ; east coast unknown 
before Cook, 230, explored by him, 
23i~3i Vancouver's survey of S. 
coast, 288; Broughton touches at, 
299 ; decision to found penal settle- 
ment in, 302 ; Bligh on coast of, 3 1 1 ; 
D'Entrecasteaux surveys S. coast, 
316; interior unknown, 1800, 409 
Austrialia del Espiritu Santo, of Qui- 
ros, 73; Bougainville identifies, 223 
Avacha bay, Kamchatka, 254, 266 ; 

La Perouse at, 277 
Avogadro, Jesuit on Rio Negro, 368 
Avondstond Island, Pacific, 211 
Ayuthia, Siam, English factory at, 57 
Azara, Don Felix de. South American 
traveller, portrait, etc., 365; surveys 
Spanish- Portuguese boundary, 366; 
further work, ibid. ; his Scientific 
Memoirs, 367 n. 
Azevedo, Joao de Sousa e, journey in 

S. Brazil, 363 
Azevedo, Marcos de, discovers silver 

and emeralds in Brazil, 170 
Azores, longitudes observed by Cook 
at, 244 

Baalbek, Bruce visits ruins of, 385 
Bab-el-Mandeb, Strait of, Bruce at, 

Babylon, ruins visited by Delia Valle, 

Bac, see San Xavier del Bac 
" Backwoodsmen " in American Colo- 
nies, 347 

Badakshan, Goes in, 130 

Baddan, Nepal, 135 

Badrinath, Andrade passes, 131 

Baffin, William, North-West voyages 
of, 38-40; voyages to Spitsbergen, 
42, 44 ; takes longitude by lunar 
distance, 39 ; death at Ormuz, 40 

Baffin Bay, reached by Davis, 35; ex- 
plored by Baffin, 40 ; Cook's search 
for passage from Pacific to, 250; 
Pickersgill and Young in, 406 

Baffin Land, discovered by Frobisher, 

Baghdad, Delia Valle at, 63 
Bahia, Pyrard at, 60 ; taken by Dutch, 

and retaken, 171 n.\ Dampier at, 

Bahuida Steppe, 151 
Baie Frangaise (Bay of Fundy), 98 
Baie Franjaise, Strait of Magellan, 

Baikal, Lake, reached by Russians, 

120; crossed by Beketof, 126; 

Gerbillon's information on, 139; 

De la Croyere at, 261; crossed by 

Pallas, 376 
Bailey, William, astronomer on Cook's 

third voyage, 246 
Bailul, Red Sea, 148 
Baker, Joseph, with Vancouver, 287 
Baker Lake, Canada, discovered, 414 
Baku, Gmelin at, 376 
Bakundi tribe, W. Africa, 163 
Balambangan Island, Borneo, 225 and 

Balbi, Gasparo, 6 
Baltimore, Lord, 104 
Ball, Lieut., sails to N.S. Wales with 

Phillip, 302 ; voyage to Norfolk 

Island, 304; to Batavia, 308 
Ball's Maiden Land, W. Pacific, 309 
Bambara, W. Africa, 158 
Bambuk, gold of, W. Africa, 158; 

attempt to reach, ibid. ; reached by 

Compagnon, 159 
Banda, Keeling at, 56; search for 

new route to, 189 
Banderas, Bay of, Mexico, 187 
Banks, Sir Joseph, accompanies Cook, 

227; botanical collections in New 

Zealand, 229; in Australia, 232; 

in New Guinea, 234; portrait of, 

231 ; intended participation in 

Cook's second voyage, 235; sup- 
ports despatch of Bounty, 310 ; 

secures restoration of Labillatdiere's 

collections, 319 



Bantam, Houtman reaches, 48 ; Lan- 
caster at, 54; principal English 
factory, 58; investment by Dutch, 

Bantu of S. Africa, Dutch contact 
with, 392 

Baranof, Great Cape, 264 

Baraze, Cypriano, work and travels 
among Moxos, 177 ; murdered, 
178 ■ 

Barbela River, Congo, 164 

Barbinais, Le Gentil de la, voyage 
across Pacific to China, 206 

Barbola, Lake, 165 n. 

Barbosa, Duarte, 6 

Barbot, James, Voyages to Calabar 
and Bonny, 155 

Barbot, John, description of Guinea, 


Barclay, Capt., voyage to N.W. 
America, 280 

Barclay Sound, Vancouver Island, 

Bardelifere, Michel Frotet de la. 
Eastern voyage of, 58 

Barents, Willem, his map of the 
North, 5 ; Hondius's map of his 
discoveries, 18 n., 26 ; a pupil of 
Peter Plancius, 30 ; Arctic voyages 
of, 2 1 sef. ; tries to pass Yugor 
Strait, 23; favours route to north 
of Novaya Zemlya, 24; wintering 
there with Heemskerk, and death, 
25 ; winter-quarters passed by De 
Vlamingh, 400 

Barfrush, Persia, Gmelin at, 377 

Barker, Andrew, voyage to Green- 
land, 38 

Barontala, Tibet, 134 

Barrakonda and falls, Gambia, 154, 

Barren Lands, Canada, expeditions 
to, 329 

Barrington, Hon. Daines, publishes 
account of Gillis's voyage, 402 ; 
urges Arctic exploration, zdtd. 

Barros, Joao de, on avoidance of South 
coast of Java, 49; on Portuguese in 
Timbuktu, 1 54 n. 

Barrow, Sir John, Journeys in S. 
Africa, 399 

Barsa Kilmas Lake, Central Asia, 

Bashi Islands, China Sea, 188 
Bass Strait, Islands in, seen by 

Furneaux, 239 
Basse des Fregates Frangais, 275 

Bassendine, agent of Muscovy com- 
pany, 17 

Bassora, Persian Gulf, 63 

Basundi tribe, Congo, 163 

Batavia, founded, 53 ; Dampier at, 
196 ; Funnel! at, 197 ; Roggeveen 
at, 211 ; Wallis at, 218; Carteret at, 
221 ; Cook at, 234; new route to 
Canton from, 275 ; Shortland at, 
306 ; Hunter at, 308 ; Ball and King 
at, 309; {see Jacatra) 

Batavia^ 80 

Batcheloi'S Delight, 184 

Batchelour, sails under Narborough, 

Bateke country, Congo, 163 

Batta, Franjois van, Journey in 
Congo, 165 

Battas, Duchene, voyage to Chile and 
Peru, 206 

Bauman, — , sails with Roggeveen, 

Bauman Islands, Pacific, see Bouman 

Baurenfeind, W., with Niebuhr in 
Arabia, 382; death, 383 

Baures, Baraze murdered by the, 178 ; 
later missions to, 362 

Baures River, Brazil, 362 

Baxa, see Buxa 

Bay of Islands, New Zealand, Marion 
murdered at, 237 

Bay of Islands, N.W. America, 250 

Bear Island, discovered by the Dutch, 

Bear Islands, .Siberia, 264 

Beauchene, Gouin de, voyages of, 

Beaujeu, commands La Salle's ships, 

Beaulieu, Augustin de, voyages of, 60 

Beautemps-Beaupre, hydrographer 
with D'Entrecasteaux, 3 14 

" Beaux Hommes," N. America, 326 

Beaver, trade in skins of, 107 

Beaver, voyage of, to Hudson Bay, 

Beccari, work on Abyssinian History, 
145 K. 

Becharof, voyage to Alaska, 270 

Bechuanas, early reports of, 394 

Begon, "Intendant" in Canada, 323 

Behrens, Carl Friedrich, with Rogge- 
veen, 210 n. 

Beit-el-Fakih, coffee mart, Yemen, 

Beketof, ascent of Selenga River by, 



Bekovich Cherkaski, enterprises in 

Central Asia, 373 
Belem, see Pari 
Beligatti, Cassiano, his journey to 

Lhasa, 142 n. 
Bell Sound, Spitsbergen, 25 
Bella Coola River, British Columbia, 


Bellefond, Villault de, voyage on 
Guinea coast, 156 

Bellin, Nicholas, map of Bering Strait 
region, 269 

Bemmelen, W. van, chart of mag- 
netic variation, 77 n. 

Benares, 135 

Bencoolen, Dampier at, 191 

Benedict XII, Pope, 129 

Bengal, Pyrard's account of, 59 ; mer- 
chants of, and American fur trade, 
279, 292 ; and New Guinea trade, 
319 ; and Pacific exploration, 412 ; 
Bhutanese invasion of, 379 

Beni River, Amazon basin, 176, 177 ; 
mouth passed by De Lima, 362 

Benin, knovvfledge of, a.d. 1600, 7 ; 
Nyendael's account of, 155 

Bennet, Stephen, names Cherie Is- 
land, 24 

Benyowski, adventurer in Madagas- 
car, 415 

Benzelstiern, copy of Renat's map by, 

374-5 . ^ 

Bering, Vitus, 245 ; appomted to 
command exploring expedition, 
259 ; voyage through Bering Strait, 
ibid.; fixes S. point of Kamchatka, 
260; new expedition, 261; super- 
intends other explorations, 264 ; 
begins voyage, 266 ; shipwreck and 
death, 267 

Bering Bay of Cook, 250 ; non-exis- 
tent, 295 

Bering Island, Bering's ship wrecked 
on, 267 

Bering Sea, Cook in, 250, 252 ; 
Russian hunters in, 269 

Bering Strait, early rumours of, 121 ; 
said to have been discovered by 
Deshnef, 122; Cook enters, 251; 
Gierke in, 254; Bering's explora- 
tion of, 259 

Bermudo, Jos^, work among Moxos, 

Bemier, Franfois, journey to India, 
and work, 67 

Bernizet, scientist with La Perouse, 

Berrio, Antonio de, 9 

Best, Captain, victory of, at Swally, 

Betagh, William, captured by Spani- 
ards, 200 ; his account of Peru and 

Chile, ibid. 
Beutler, August Frederik, expedition 

in S. Africa, 392 
Bhatgaon, Nepal, 135 
Bhutan, missions from India to, 379-80 
Bichu River, Tibet, 142 
Bighorn Mts, possibly reached by La 

V&endryes, 327 
Bihouda, see Bahuida 
Bileth, Robert, see Byleth 
Billings, Capt., expedition to Bering 

Strait region, 270 
Biscayans, employed in Spitsbergen 

whale fishery, 42 
Bison ("Buffalo"), of N. America, 

seen by Marquette and JoHet, 1 10 ; 

by Kellsey, 329 ; by Hendry, 330 ; 

by Escalante, 357 
Bissagos Islands, W. Africa, 158 
Bissao, W. Africa, visited by Brue, 

Biyurt, Senegal, 156 
Black water rivers of S. America, 

174 K. 
Blackfeet Indians, Canada, 330, 331, 

Blackwater River, British Columbia, 

Blaeu, maps of Africa by, 150 
Blanc, Vincent le, travels, 62 
Blanco, Cape, W. Africa, 156 
Bland lake, Canada, 334 
Blende, Father, journey in Paraguay, 

and death, 359 
Bligh, William, sails with Cook, 246; 

voyages in Bounty and Providence 

to procure bread-fruit tree, 310, 314 ; 

portrait, 310; mutiny of his crew, 

311; perilous voyage home, 311- 

12; surveys in Tasmania, 314 
Bluet, Mr, life of Job ben Solomon by, 

Bob^, Father, memoir on routes in 

Canada, 323 
Bocage, — du, voyage across Pacific, 

Bocarro, journey towards L. Nyasa, 

Bocca Tigris, Canton, Anson at, 203 
Bogle, George, mission to Tibet, 379 ; 

death, 380 ; publication of his 

journals, 381 



Bolcheretsk, Kamchatka, ■254 
Bokange or Bocanga tribe, W. Africa, 

Bokhara, Russian advance towards, 

Bolivia, journeys on E. borders of, 

see Paraguay 
Bomba Archipelago, 223 
Bombay, merchants of, and American 

fur trade, 279 
Bona Confidential 16 
Bona Esperanza, 16 
Bonaventura, Father, his journey in 

Congo, 165 
Bond, Lieut, surveys in Tasmania by, 


Bonechea, Don Domingo, voyages of, 
to Tahiti, 41 3 

Bonin Islands, discovery of, 85 

Bonjour, Father, begins survey of 
Yunnan, but dies, 140 

Bonny, Barbot's voyage to, 155 

Bonthein, Celebes, 221 

Booby shoal, Pacific, 308 

Boon, Daniel, crosses Mts into Ken- 
tucky, 348 

Borabora, Society Islands, Cook at, 

Borkhaya, cape, Siberia, 263 

Borneo, visited by Van Noort, 52 ; 
E. India Co.'s establishments in, 
2 2fi and n. 

Bosman, Description of Guinea^ 155 

Boscawen Island, 78 

Botany Bay, discovered and named, 
232 ; site of penal settlement, 302 ; 
surveyed by Hunter, 306 ; naviga- 
tion to, 312 

Botany Island, New Caledonia, 243 

Boucan or dried meat, 182 

Boudeuse, see La Boudeuse 

Boudoir, Le, peak, Tahiti, 222 

Bougainville, Louis Antoinede, Byron 
meets, 214; early life, 221; takes 
colonists to Falklands, 222 ; voy- 
age round world, ibid. 

Bougainville Island, Solomons, Bou- 
gainville at, 223 ; Shorlland at, 305 ; 
D'Entrecasteaux's survey, 316 

Bougainville Strait, Solomon Islands, 
223; D'Entrecasteaux in, 316 

Bouguer, his geodetic work in S. 
America, 369 

Bouman Islands, Pacific, 2ri 

Boundaries, expedition of the, Vene- 
zuela, 368 

Bounty, voyage of the, 310; mutiny 

on, 311; Edwards's search for mu- 
tineers, 312 ; their fate, 311 «., 312, 

Bounty Islands, Southern Ocean, 3 1 1 
Bourbon, Fort, Cent. Canada, 327 
Bourbon (Reunion) Island, 167 
Bourdon, Jean, expedition to Hudson 

Bay, 106 
Bourges, M. de, 68 
Bozissole, La Perouse's ship, 273 
Bouvet, Jesuit in China, 136 
Bouvet, Lozier, voyage to South Seas, 

207 ; its influence on Cook's plans, 

Bouvet's South land. Cook's search 

for, 236, 238, 244; not identical 

"with Prince Edward Islands, 237 ; 

Furneaux's search for, 244 
Bow Indians, N. America, 326 
Bowrey, Capt. T. , chart of Tasman's 

discoveries by, 95 n. 
Braa/, 93 

Brahmaputra, Upper, see Sanpo 
Brak River, Little, S. Africa, 392 
Branco, Rio, N. Brazil, 369 ; reached 

by Dutch, 414 
Brand, Pieter, journey north of Orange 

River, 397 
Brandenburgers in W. Africa, 155 
Bravo, Father, journey in California, 


Brazil, Pyrard wrecked on coast of, 
60; extension of knowledge of, 
17th cent., \69t seq.\ enterprises of 
the Paulistas in, 170; Jesuit and 
Dutch journeys in, 171 ; Nieuhoff's 
work on, ibid. ; Chatham sent with 
despatches to, 298; pioneering in 
Central, ^61 seq.; boundaries of, 
364; Dutch reach, from north, 414 

Brazos River, Texas, La Salle on, 

Bread-fruit, attempt to introduce, into 
West Indies, 309 

Brebeuf, Jesuit Missionary in Canada, 

Breskens, 86 

Brest, La Perouse sails from, 274; 
D'Entrecasteaux sails from, 314 

Brevedent, Charles de, journey to 
Abyssinia, 151 ; death, 152 

Brianta River, Siberia, 123' 

Brieba, Domingo de, descent of A- 
mazon, 172 

Brink, surveyor on Hop's expedition, 
S. Africa, 393 

"Briquas," S. Africa, 394 


42 s 

Bristol, James's expedition fitted out 
at, 41 

British exploration in W. Canada, 
328 seq. ; political results, 345 ; oc- 
cupation of Cape Colony, 399 ; {see 

Broken Bay, N. S. Wales, 306 

Broughton, W. B., sails with Van- 
couver, 287; ascends Columbia, and 
goes home with despatches, 293 ; 
second voyage to N. Pacific, 298 

Broughton Channel, Sea of Japan, 

BrouwerJ Hendrik, voyage to Staten 
Land and Chile, 77 

Browne, — , agent of Muscovy Co., 


Bruce, James, journeys of, 384 seq. ; 
in North Africa and Syria, 385 ; 
reaches Egypt, 386 ; portrait, ibid. ; 
fixes position of Kosseir and em- 
barks on Red Sea, 387 ; reaches 
Massaua, 388 ; journey to Gondar, 
residence there, etc., ibid. ; reaches 
Nile source, and starts home, 389 ; 
perilous journey to Egypt, 390 

Brue, Andre, activity on the Senegal, 
IS 7-60 

Brugge, J. S. van der, winters in 
Spitsbergen, 46 

Brule, Etienne, loi 

Brunei, Olivier, Northern voyages of, 

Bruni Island, Tasmania, 315 

Buriats, oppose Russians, 120 

Buccaneers, voyages of the, 182 seq. ; 
origin of name, 182 ; narratives of, 
183; French, 203; results of voy- 
ages of, 407 

Buenaventura, Tierra de la. New 
Guinea, 74 

Bueno, Bartolomeu, seeks for precious 
metals in Brazil , 170; discoveries 
followed up by his son, 171 

Buenos Aires, overland trade of, with 
Chile, 200 

" Buffalo " of N. America, see Bison 

Buffalo Lake, W. Canada, 336 

Buka, Solomon Islands, 219; Bou- 
gainville at, 223; D'Entrecasteaux's 
survey of, 316 

Bulkeley, — , gunner of Wager, 202 

Bungo, japan, reached by Dutch, 

Bureya Mts, Amur, 125 
Bureya River, Lower Amur, 127 
Burhanpur, India, 63 

Burney, James, on Pacific voyages, 
181, 186 ; sails with Cook, 246 

Burning banks of Mackenzie, 340 

Burrough, Stephen, Arctic voyage of, 

Burrough, William, chart by, 17 ; in- 
structions for Pet and Jackman, 18 

Burrough Strait, 16 

Buru Island, Malay Archip., 224; 
passage between Ceram and, 194 

Busa, Elisei, reaches Lena delta and 
explores Yana etc., 120 

Busch, Henry, Dutch sailor in Siberia, 

Bushmen, encountered by Dutch ex- 
plorers, 391, 393 

Busse Island, supposed, N. Atlantic, 

Bustamante, J. de, sails with Mala- 
spinai 283 

Butler, Capt., voyages in Pacific, 320 

Button, Sir Thomas, voyage to Hudson 
Bay, 38 

Buxa Duar, route to Bhutan by, 379, 

Byleth or Bylot, Robert, with Hudson 
in 1610, 36 ; voyages with Baffin 
and others, 38, 39 

Byron, Commodore John, narrative 
of loss of Wager, 202 ; voyage round 
world, 213; search for Pepys Island, 

Byron Island, Pacific, 215 

Byron .Strait, New Zealand, 221 

Caamano, Jacinto, surveys coast of 

N.W. America, 292, 294 
Caaroans, Uruguay, 169 
Caborca mission station, Sonora, 353, 

Cabot, Sebastian, voyages of, 15; 

helps to found mercantile associa- 
tion, ibid. 
Cabral, Father, his mission to Tibet, 

Cabrillo, voyage on W. coast of N. 

America, 248 
Cacella, Father, missionary in Tibet, 

Cacheo, Brue's journey to, 158 
Cairo, Bruce at, 386, 390 
Calabar, Old and New, 155 
Calcutta merchants fit out New 

Guinea Expedition, 319; (see 

Caldeira, Francisco de, founds Pari, 




California, Shelvocke visits, 200 ; 
Frondac on coast of, 206 ; Van- 
couver on coast of, 293, 294, 297 ; 
search for harbours in, 350 

California, Gulf of, supposed passage 
from head of, 351 n. ; explored by 
Ugarte, 353 ; by Consag, 355 

California, Lower, peninsular charac- 
ter known in i6th cent., 350 ; 
thought an island, 351; missionary 
journeys in, ibid. ; Kiihn's attempts 
to prove junction with continent, 

California, 413 

Calvert Islands, N. W. America, named 
by Duncan, 281 

Cambalik, see Chumbalik 

Cambay, Gulf of, Sharpeigh at, 56 

Cambodia, Dutch in, 67, 86 

Campeachy, Dampier in, 183 n. 

Camus, geodetic measurement by, 
369 K. 

Canada, French in, 17th cent., 97 seq.\ 
Cook's survey work in, 226; i8th 
century explorations in, 322 seq. ; 
western journeys by southern route, 
323 ; from Hudson Bay, 328 seq., 
344 ; cession to Great Britain, 

Canada, Western, outlines of geo- 
graphy completed, 345 

Canadian Pacific Railway, route of, 

Candish, Thomas, see Cavendish 

Canga, Kwango River, 163 

Canja, a Nile boat, 387 

Cannibalism in New Zealand, 229 

Canoes, War, of Tahiti, 241 

Canons of the Colorado, 358 

Canton, Shelvocke at, 200 ; Anson 
at, 202, 203 ; new route from 
Batavia to, 275 

Cantova, Juan Antonio, missionary 
to Carolines, 412 

Cape Colony, beginnings of settle- 
ment of, 390; explorations in, 391 
seq. ; British occupation of, 399 

Cape of Good Hope, Beaulieu's stay 
at, 61 ; Dutch settlement at, and 
visits to, 166 ; route to East Indies 
by, 209 ; Wallis's longitude of, 
218; Cook at, 234, 237; Marion 
Dufresne at, 236 ; Vancouver at, 
287 ; British expedition against, 
298 ; Shortland and Hunter at, 
306; D'Entrecasteaux at, 314; {see 
Cape Colony) 

Cape Verde Islands, 204; Cook touches 

at, 237 
Cape York Peninsula, 82 ; see York, 

Captain Cook, trading ship, voyage of, 

to N.W. America, 279 
Capuchins in Tibet, 141-2; in Abys- 
sinia, 149 
Carabaya province, Peru, 176 
Caravellas, Rio das, Brazil, [70 
Carcass, Arctic voyage of, 403 
Carib way of drying meat, 182 
Carisfort, see Carysfort 
Carli, journeys in Angola, 165, 166 
Carlsen, Captain, visits Barents's 

winter quarters, 25 
Carlshof Island, Low Archip., 211 
Carolina Island, discovered, 412 
Caroline Islands, Mortlock in, 320 ; 

Duff's voyagethrough, 321 ; Spanish 

discovery of, 412 
Carolus, J oris, explorations of, 

around Spitsbergen, and map, 44 ; 

his voyage to Jan Mayen, 411 
Carpentaria, Gulf of, Duifken in, 70 ; 

Carstensz in, 82 ; circumnavigated 

by Tasman, 95 
Carrot River, Canada, 330 
Carstensz, Mount, New Guinea, 81 
Carstenszoon, Jan, Journal of, 71 ; 

voyage to Australia, 81 
Carteret, Philip, voyage round world, 

215, 218; discovers strait between 

New Britain and New Ireland, 

219 ; his chart, 220 
Carteret group. Pacific, 219, 308 
Carteret Island (Malaita), 219 
Carteret's Harbour, New Ireland, 316 
Carthagena, Colombia, 369 
Cartier, Jacques, 10, 97 
Carvalho, Jesuit in Japan, 86 
Carver, Jonathan, attempts western 

exploration in N. America, 335 
Carysfort Island, Pacific, 312 
Cassowary, brought home by Hout- 

man, 49 
Caspian, journeys on and beyond, 

i8th cent., 373 seq.; Pallas's, 375; 

Gmelin's, 376-7 
Cassiquiari River, S. America, 174; 

Ramon's descent of, 368 
Castaiiares, Father, his exploration of 

Pilcomayo, and death, 361 
Castillo, Jose del, his work among 

Moxos, 177 
Castricum, 86 
Castries Bay, Manchuria, 277 



Cathay (China), shown by Herber- 

stein as "Lake Kythay," iign.; 

Goes's search for, 129 ; identical 

with China, 131; [see China) 
Catherine, Empress of Russia, patron 

of research in Asia, 375 
Caucasus, Guldenstaedt explores, 377 
Caura River, Venezuela, 369 
Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, his travels 

in W. Africa, and book, 162, 165 
Cavendish or Candish, Thomas, route 

of, south of Java, 49 n. 
Caverne, lie de la, 237 
Cecchi and Chiarini, their travels in 

Galla countries, 148 
Celebes, Dampier at, 188 ; Carteret 

at, 221 
Celery, Wild, as preventive of scurvy, 


Celsius, aids French geodesists, 369 n. 

Cenis Indians, Texas, 116 

Centurion, Don, search for El Dorado, 

Ceram, sea north of, unknown, 83 ; 
Tasman's voyage to, and chart, 
84 ; passage between Buru and, 

Cervino, Azara's assistant, 367 

Cespedes, Luiz de, 169 

Ceylon, IJutch trade with, 53 ; Her- 
bert visits, 65 ; Mandelslo in, 65 

Chain Island, Low Archipelago, 72 

Chambers, Commander, 181 «. 

Champlain, Samuel de, early career, 
97 ; suggests canal across American 
isthmus, 98 ; undertakings in 
Canada, iiicl. ; exploring journeys, 
99 se^. ; portrait, 100 ; death, loi 

Champlain, Lake, 99 ; Jogues's de- 
scription, 107 

Chanal, Capt., sails with Marchand, 

Chanal Island, Marquesas, 285 

Chancellor, Richard, sails with Sir 
Hugh Willoughby, 15 ; journey to 
Moscow, 16 ; drowned, idid. 

Chanchamayu River, Peru, 176 

Chang-pei-Shan, Mts, 137 «., 139 

Chaprang, Tibet, Andrade at, 131, 

Chardin, Sir John, visits to the East, 

Charles II, supports Wood's Arctic 
voyage, 401 

Charles XII of Sweden, his officers 
sent prisoners to Siberia, 374 

Charles, Foxe's ship, 41 

Charles Island, Galapagos, 186, 198 

Charlevoix, Father, his report on 
western routes in Canada, 323 

Charlotte, voyage from Sydney to 
China, 304 

Chastes, Aymar de, 98 

Chatham, sails with Vancouver, 287 ; 
homeward voyage, 298 

Chatham, Cape, W. Australia, 288 

Chatham Sound, N. W. America, 

Chaumont, Chevalier de, his mission 
to Siam, 68 

Chaves, Nuflo de, his expedition in 
Central S. America, 178 

Chechegin, supports Khabarof on 
Amur, 125 

Chekin, his explorations on Siberian 
coast, 264 

Chelyuskin, his explorations on Sibe- 
rian coast, 263, 264 

Chelyuskin, Cape, Siberia, 264 

Cherie Island (Bear Island), so named 
by Stephen Bennet, 24 

Chernigofski, founds Albazin, 126 

Cherry Island, Pacific, 313 

Chesapeake Bay, explored by Smith, 

Chesterfield Inlet, discovered and ex- 
plored, 413-J4 

Chiarini, see Cecchi 

Chichiklik Pass, Central Asia, 130 

Chickahominy River, 104 

Chidley's Cape, Hudson Strait, 35 

Chieng-mai, Siam, English at, 57 

Chiloe Island, visited by Narborough, 
180; Shelvocke at, 199; Frezier's 
account of Chonos of, 206 ' 

Chilande, Lake, Angola, 164 n. 

Chile, Dutch aim at opening a new 
route to, 89 ; attempt to open 
English trade with, 180; Betagh's 
account of, and of French trade 
with, 200 ; French buccaneers on 
coast of, 203 ; Beauchfee Gouin's 
voyage to, 205 ; Feuillee's and 
Frezier's accounts of, 206 ; La 
Perouse on coast of, 274; Van- 
couver ditto, 298 

China, attempted discovery of North- 
Eastern route to, 17; Quast and 
Tasman to survey coast of, 85 ; 
Western route to, 105 ; land route 
to, 129 ; European knowledge of, 
132; Mendoza's account of, and 
work of Jesuits in, ibid. ; Atlas 
Sinensis of Martini, 133; Dutch 



Embassies to, ibid. ; Navarette's 
travels, 133 ; Jesuits' overland 
journeys, 136; their survey and 
map, 139-40; Clipperton in, 199 ; 
Anson in, ^oi, 203 ; French trading 
voyages to, 205 ; voyages to N.W. 
America from, 279, 280; (see Great 

China Strait, Torres at, 74 ; De 
Prado's chart of, ibid. 

Chinese Calendar, refonn of, 132 

Chinese Empire, Jesuit survey and 
map of, 139-40 

Chipewyan, Fort, founded, 338 ; 
Mackenzie returns to, 340 

Chipewyans, Hearne joined by, 334 ; 
Henry and others in country of, 

Chiquitos of Central S. America, 

178; Spanish missions to, 359; 

search for route to, ibid. 
Chiriguanas of Paraguay, 178, 359 
Chirikof, Alexei, Bering's colleague, 
■ 2S9, 261; commands St Peter, 266; 

reaches American coast and returns, 

Chirikof Bay, N.W. America, 274 
Chitaingof, mate vi'ith Bering, 267 
Chittagong, Pyrard at, 59 
Choiseul Island, Solomons [q.v.], 223 
Chonos, of Chiloe Island, Frezier on, 

Chosan, Korea, Broughton at, 300 
Christian IV of Denmark, patron of 

voyages, 40; Christian VII, ditto, 

Christian, Fletcher, leader of mutiny 

on Bounty, 31 1 
Christianaux Lake, of Hendry, not 

Winnipeg, 330 ; {see Cristinaux) 
Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, 

Minors's and Dampier's visits, 191 ; 

Anson sights, 203 
Christmas Island, Pacific, Cook at, 

Chronometer, Vancouver's longitudes 

by, 287 
Chugatsk Bay, Alaska, 270 ; {see 

Prince William Sound) 
Chukches, N.E. Siberia, first heard 

of, 120; visited by Ignatief, 12:; 

Cook visits, 251 ; Shestakof's fatal 

fight with, 260 ; Paulutzki's ex- 
pedition to, 261 ; Billings opposed 

by, 271 
Chukutskoi-nos, N.E. Siberia, 122, 


Chumbalyk, shovfn in Herberstein's 
map, 119 

Chumbi valley, Tibet, 379 

Chunchos of Peru, 176 

Churchill River, Canada, 41 ; fort 
near mouth, 332 ; reached by 
Frobishers and Henry, 336; Fidler's 
map, 344 

Churchill, 414 

Cinque Ports, 196 

Circumcision, Cape, discovered by 
Bouvet, 207; Cook's search for, 236, 
238, 244 ; not identical with Prince 
Edward Islands, 237 ; Furneaux's 
search for, 244 

Circumnavigators, see Chapters viii, 
IX, passim 

Claaszoon, Haevick, his voyage to 
Australia, 79 

Clairaut, geodetic measurement by, 
369 11. 

Clarence Strait, N.W. America, 294 

Clark, George Rogers, march north 
of Ohio by, 349 

Clavius, Jesuit mathematician, 132 

Clavus, Claudius, early map of the 
North by, 15 

Clear Lake, Canada, 336 

Clearwater River, Canada, 336 

Gierke, Charles, second in command 
with Cook, 245 ; assumes chief 
command, 253 ; attempt to pene- 
trate Arctic Ocean, and death, 254 

Gierke's Island, Bering Sea, 252 

Cleveland Bay, E. Australia, 232 

Clipperton, Captain, leaves Dampier 
and crosses Pacific, 197 ; new voy- 
age, 198; return and death, 199 

Clove, voyage to Japan, 57 

Cloven Cliif, Spitsbergen, 403 

Coal, in Tasmania, 317 

Coburg peninsula, N. Australia, 209 

Cochin China, Pere de Rhodes's 
labours in, 66, 67 

Cocking, Matthew, journey on Sas- 
katchewan by, 331 

Cocks, Richard, factor in Japan, 57 
Cocomas tribe, Peru, 175 

Cocos Islands, discovered, 78 ; Tasman 
sails for, 92 ; [see Kokos) 

Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Dampier 
misses, 1 9 1 

Cod, Cape, 98, 103 

Coen, Jans Pieterszoon, Dutch Gover- 
nor in East, 53, 78 
Coetivi, Chev. de, his voyage to East 
Indies, 224 



Coetivi Island, 225 

Coetsee, Jacobus, crosses Orange 
River, 393 

Cofanes Indians, Upper Amazon, 175 

Coffee trade in Yemen, 381 

Colbert, interests himself in Canada, 

Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, 199 

CoUaert, Gerrit, 208 

Collingridge, George, reproduction 
of De Prado's charts, 75 k. 

Collins, Grenville, with Narborough, 

Collins Cape, Spitsbergen, 27 

Colnett, James, voyage to N.W. 
America, 281 ; put under arrest, 
282 ; Cape Ommaney named by, 

Colombia, route between Venezuela 
and, 368 

Colorado River, Grand Canon reached 
before 1600,9; lower course reached 
and crossed by Kiihn, 352 ; mouth 
reached by Ugarte, effect of its 
water, 353 ; Consag's attempted 
ascent, 355 ; Garces on, 355-6 ; 
Escalante's journey across upper 
basin, 357 ; river crossed on return, 

Columbia, American sloop in N.W. 

America, 281, 289 
Columbia River, possibly visited by 

Heceta and Quadra, 249, 289 it. ; 

mouth seen by Meares, 281 ; missed 

by Vancouver, but seen by Gray, 

289; examined by Broughton, 292; 

Fraser identified with, 342 
Comanche Indians, W. United States, 


Commer9on, botanist with Bougain- 
ville, 224 

Comorin, Cape, Saris's latitude of, 


Comoro Islands, touched at by 
Houtman, 50; by Beaulieu, 61 

Compagnies Landt, Japan, 87, 121 

Compagnon, Sieur, journeys in \V. 
Africa, 159 ; his map and de- 
scriptions, 1 60 

Companies, Trading and Chartered: 
Danish E. India, 40; Dutch W. 
India, 105, is.Si 210; English 
African, 154, 160; French African 
and W. Indian, 156; French 
African, 167 ; Dutch E. India, 209, 
211; French Pacific, 204; China, 
205 ; Russian fur-trading, 269 ; 

Dutch New Netherlands, 411; (see 
East India Co., Hudson Bay Co., 
North-West Co., etc.) 

Company's New Netherlands, 95 

Compass, variation of, 90; observed 
by Beaulieu, 60; in Pacific, 77 
and »., 79 

Concobella, Congo, 163 

Concordia, Timor, Dampier at, 193 

Condi, Kwango River, 163 

Congo, kingdom of, travels in, and 
literature on, 162 seq. 

Congo River, early journeys on, 163 ; 
central course unknown to Portu- 
guese, 1 64 

Consag, Father, surveys Gulf of 
California, 355 ; explores coast of 
peninsula, ibid. 

Consent, 55 

Constantinople, Danish savants in, 

Continents, last coast-lines made 
known, 408, 409 

Cook, James, chosen to command 
expedition to Pacific, 226; early 
career, ibid. ; chart of his routes, 
228 n., 254 ; reaches Tahiti, 228 ; 
explores New Zealand, 229 ; ex- 
plores Eastern Australia, 231 ; 
his chart of the same, 233 ; reaches 
England, 234; second voyage, 235, 
237 ; seeks southern continent, 
crosses Antarctic Circle, 238, 239, 
241 ; his second visit to New Zea- 
land, ibid. ; traverses S. Pacific, 
240 ; visits Easter Island, etc. and 
returns to Tahiti, 241 ; explores 
New Hebrides, etc., 242 ; dis- 
covers New Caledonia, 243 ; re- 
visits New Zealand and re- 
crosses Pacific, 243 ; visits South 
Georgia and Sandwich Land, 244; 
returns home by the Cape and the 
Azores, ibid. ; Governor of Green- 
wich Hospital, 245 ; new expedition, 
ibid. ; his voyage viA Tasmania and 
New Zealand to Tahiti, 246 ; 
reaches Hawaii, 248 ; explores 
coast of N. America, 249-50 ; 
passes through Bering Strait, 251 ; 
returns to Sandwich Islands, 252 ; his 
death, 253 ; accompanied by Swedish 
naturalist, 396 n. ; Arctic voyages 
for purpose of meeting, 405-6 

Cook, John, buccaneer, 184 

Cook Islands, S. Pacific, IBligh at 
311; (see Hervey Islands) 



Cook, River or Sound, N. W. America, 
Cook at, 250 ; Portlock and Dixon 
at, 279; Douglas at, 280; Van- 
couver surveys, 295 ; name changed, 

Cook Strait, New Zealand, Cook's 
passages through, 230, 240 

Copart, Father, in California, 351 

Copper, in N. Canada, 332 ; in 
South Africa, 394, 395 ; ore ob- 
tained by Van Reenen, 398 

Copper Indians, N. Canada, 334, 

Copper mountains. Cape Colony, 394, 

Coppermine River, N. Canada, reached 

by Hearne, 334 
Coral reefs, off E. coast of Australia, 

Corbett's Inlet, Hudson Bay, 413, 

Corbin, 58 
Cordes, Simon de, in Dutch voyage 

to Japan, 51 ; killed, ibid. 
Corentyn River, Guiana, 414 
Corne, Fort a la, 331, 332 
Corney, Dr Bolton, 413 
Coromandel Coast, Dutch trade wi\.h., 

Coronado, North American explorer, 

Correa, Manoel, penetrates to Goyaz, 

Corso, Father, in E. Peru, 177 
Cortereal, Portuguese voyager, reaches 

Greenland, 27 
Cortil, Father, voyage of, towards 

Carolines, 412 
Coryat, Thomas, travels of, and 

narrative, 62 
Cossack explorers in Siberia, 258 
Costa, Pedro da, with Teixeira on 

Amazon, 173 
Costing Sarch, corruption of Kostin 

Shar (ij. v.), 29 
Cotton, Sir Dodmore, English agent 

in Persia, 65 
Coulange, Lake, 100 
Coupang, see Kupang 
Courtney, Stephen, sails with Woodes 

Rogers, 198 
Covadonga, Nuestra SeRora de, taken 

by Anson, 202 
Coverte, Robert, returns overland 

from India, 56 
CovilhSo, Pedro de, his embassy to 

Abyssinia, 144 

Cowley, Ambrose, Pepys Island of, 

181 n., 184, 213; voyage to South 

Seas and chart of Galapagos, 1 84-5 
Coxe, Dr William, proposes north- 
eastern voyage, 270 
Coxon, John, buccaneer, 183 
Craen, 4 i o 
Cramer, C. C, researches in Arabia, 

382 ; death, 383 
Crete, Bruce in, 385 
Crevecceur, Fort, on Illinois, 112 
Crillon, Cape, Sakhalin, 277 
Cristinaux, Lake of the, Canada, 323 

[see Christianaux) 
Croghan, George, journeys to, and 

survey of, Ohio, 346 
Croissant, 58 
Cross Lake, Canada, 330 
Cross Sound, N.W. America, 250, 

280; Vancouver at, 297 
Crow Indians, N. America, 326 
Crozet, — , sails with Marion, 237 
Crozet Islands, Southern Ocean, 237 
Cruse, Hieronymus, expedition to 

Mossel Bay, Cape Colony, 391 
Cruythof, Pieter, exploration in S. 

Africa, 391 
Cubero, Don Pedro, travels of, 66 
Cueva and Cujia, Fathers, work in 

Maynas, Peru, 175 
Cumberland Gulf, Baffin Land, visited 

by Davis, 33 
Cumberland House, Canada, built 

by Hearne, 334 
Cumberland Islands, Pacific, 216 
Cumberland Lake, Canada, 334 
Cumberland Mountains and Gap, 

explored and named by Walker, 

Cumberland River, Kentucky, named 

by Walker, 347 
Cummins, — , carpenter in Wager, 

Cunningham, John, commands Danish 

Greenland Expedition, 36 
Curry, Thomas, Canadian trader, 

Curtis Island, Kermadec group, 304 
Cuyaba, reached by Dutch officials, 

171; exploration from, 363 
Cygnet, 185; voyage of circumnavi- 
gation, 187 seq. 
Cyprus, Teixeira in, 62 

D'Abbadie, travels in Abyssinia, 146 
Dablon, Father, explores Saguenay, 



Daedalus, voyage to N.W. America, 
292 i second ditto, 294 

Da Gama, Don Christopher, ex- 
pedition to Abyssinia, 1 44 ; grave 
found by Lobo, 149 

Dagelet, see Lepaute-Dagelet 

Dageraad or Dageroth, Pacific, 211 

Dahome, D'Elb^e's voyage to, 157 

Dakota Indians, 102 

Dakota, North, La Verendrye in, 

Dalai Lama of Tibet, 134 n. 
Dalai Nor, Lake, Upper Amur, 137, 
138 ; reached by Messerschmidt, 

Dale, Fran9ois de la, commercial 
agent in Dutch Arctic voyages, 22 
D' Almeida, Manoel, see Almeida 
Dalrymple, Alexander, publishes 
narrative of Torres's voyage, 75 ; 
his interest in Pacific discovery, 
Damaras of S. Africa, reports of, 

393 ; Brand visits, 398 
Damaras, Hill, 398 
Damascus, visited by Delia Valle, 63 
Damot, Abyssinia, Lobo in, 149 
Dampier, William, voyages of, to South 
Seas, 179, 183 and «., 184; crosses 
Pacific, 187; his portrait, 188; visits 
Australia, 190 ; gunner at Ben- 
coolen, and returns to England, 
191 ; new voyage, 192 ; discoveries 
near New Guinea, 193-4 ; dis- 
covers insular character of New 
Britain, 194, 196; his chart, 195; 
voyage in the St George, 196; pilot 
with Woodes Rogers, 198 ; im- 
portance of his work, 407 
Dampier, Cape, New Britain, 194 
Dampier Strait (between New- 
Guinea and New Britain), dis- 
covered, 194 
Dampier Strait (between New Guinea 
and Waigiu), discovery of, 193 ; 
D'Entrecasteaux's passage, 318 
Damroquas, see Damaras 
Danakil country, 146 ; crossed by 

Mendez and Lobo, 148 
Danckert, Jan, exploration in Cape 

Colony, 391 
Danger Islands, Pacific, yij 
Dangerous Archipelago, 222 
Daniel, missionary among Hurons, 

Danish East India Company, 40 
Danish voyages to north-west, 36 ; 

enterprise in W. Africa, 155; re- 
search in Arabia, 382 ; Greenland 
expeditions, 1786-7, 405 
Danube, Upper Yangtse compared 

to, 134 

D'Anville, J. B. B., maps of Chinese 

Empire by, 140, 14 1 ; African maps 

in Labat's works, 160, 162-4 > 

map of Paraguay, 360, 361 

Danzig, home of Messerschmidt, 374 

Dapper, Oliver, on geography of 

Congo, etc., 163, 164, 165 
Darien Indians, Lionel Wafer among, 

Da Sylva, in charge of mission in 

Abyssinia, 144 «. 
Daughters, The, peaks in New Britain, 

Dauphin, Fort, Madagascar, 167, 415 
Dauphin, Fort, Central Canada, 327 
Dauphine, name for Madagascar, 167 
Dauphine, Baie, Tierra del Fuego, 

Daurians of Amur, 124, 125 
Dauribeau, Lieut., with D'Entrecas- 
teaux, 318; succeeds to command, 


Davidson, Prof. George, on localities 
visited by Bering, 295 n. 

Davis, Edward, buccaneer, voyage 
to South Seas, 184-7 ! sacks 
Spanish towns, 186 ; supposed dis- 
covery of island, 186, 210; Byron's 
search for it, 214; Carteret's, 218 

Davis, John, his discoveries shown 
on Edward Wright's map, 13 ; 
"furious overfall" reported by, 
■29, 35 ; birth-place of, 33 ; north- 
west voyages of, 33 seq. \ sails to 
the East with the Houtmans, 49 ; 
his gallantry, 50 ; in first voyage 
under East India Company, 53 

Davis, Lieut. Samuel, member of 
Turner's mission to Tibet, 380 ; 
his sketch of Punakha, 381 

Davis's Land, Pacific, search for, 
214, 218, 413 

Davis's South Land (Falklands), 182 

Davis Strait, crossed by Davis, 33, 

Daybreak Island, Pacific, 2ti 
Debarke, Nubia, 152 
De Barros, see I3arros 
Deb Raja of Bhutan, 379-80 
De Castries Bay, Manc